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Meridean Leone Maas

Meridean Leone Maas, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor Emerita, College of Nursing, the University of Iowa, 86, of Iowa City, Iowa, died on November 13, 2020, suddenly at her home. She was a very strong, supportive and loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. Meridean was an empathic advocate, passionate educator and beloved mentor. She believed goals could be met and potential reached with the appropriate support and hard work.

Meridean was born June 11, 1934, in Marshalltown, Iowa, as an only child to Miriam (Johnson) Speas and Kenneth Speas. She excelled in school and was successful playing as the high-scoring forward on the 6-on-6 Union-Whitten Varsity basketball team beginning as an 8thgrader. Meridean married Richard (Dick) Maas, Union, Iowa, on August 22, 1954. She often mused that she “had an eye” on Dick, the blonde, curly-haired, athlete throughout school and they eventually became high school sweethearts. He was the love of her life for more than 65 years.

Meridean attended the University of Iowa where she completed her Bachelor and Master in nursing degrees. She began her nursing career in research with Dr. Myrtle Adylotte at the University of Iowa Hospitals. Later, she worked as a nurse educator in Chicago while Dick completed his doctoral degree in Optometry. In 1959, they returned to live in Liscomb, Iowa, in the historical John W. Tripp House at the end of Main Street where Meridean’s grandparents, H.D. (Dick) and Mabel Johnson, lived for many years. Meridean served as the Director of Nursing at the Evangelical Hospital and School of Nursing in neighboring Marshalltown, Iowa.

In 1965, she was hired as a consultant in Nursing Administration at the Iowa Soldiers Home (now known as the Iowa Veterans Home). Meridean and Dr. Ada Jacox, collaborated to implement an innovative model of nurse autonomy and chronicled the process in a book. While at the Iowa Soldiers Home, she served as a clinical nurse, nurse educator, and a mentor in the employer assistance program. During this time, she served as the first nurse member of the Iowa Board of Health and became certified as a post-master’s rehabilitation nurse at Texas Woman’s University. She then joined the Iowa Regional Medical Society and presented rehabilitation workshops throughout the state of Iowa. Meridean, Janet Specht and Dr. Ada Jacox collaborated to submit and obtain an educational grant from HRSA for the Iowa Soldiers Home. This was the first non-academic institution to receive a HRSA grant.

Meridean received her doctorate in Sociology of Organizations from Iowa State University in 1979 and joined the University of Iowa College of Nursing faculty in 1983. She was advisor for 18 doctoral students in Nursing Administration and in Aging and sponsored 9 Predoctoral Fellows and nine Postdoctoral Fellows funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the University of Iowa Center on Aging. She also advised master’s students in administration and gerontology and chaired numerous master’s theses and projects. Dr. Maas taught in both the undergraduate and graduate programs and later taught courses exclusively for doctoral students. Her funded programs of research included: Testing the Effects of Family Involvement in Care intervention on Family Members of Institutionalized Alzheimer’s Patients, Staff Caregivers and Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and the nursing outcomes classification (NOC) research to develop, classify and validate patient outcomes that are sensitive to nursing interventions. Dr. Maas also conducted research with electronic clinical data, including standardizing nursing data, to assess the cost effectiveness of nursing interventions on outcomes for older persons hospitalized with congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

Dr. Maas was Co-Director of the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence, Co-Principal Investigator of the Iowa Geriatric Education Center grant funded by HRSA, Co-Director of the Gerontological Nursing Interventions Research Center (GNIRC) and Director of its Regional Research Training Core. She served on four editorial boards and was a reviewer for five journals, had numerous peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters in print and has authored or edited several books. The second edition of was published by Mosby in January 2001. Dr. Maas received many professional honors including the Regents Award for Faculty Excellence at the University of Iowa in 1997 and the Outstanding Gerontological Nurse Researcher Award from the National Gerontological Nurses Association in 2011. Recognition for her professional career culminated with being named an American Academy of Nursing 2011 Living Legend. The academy recognizes a small group of fellows with the prestigious Living Legend Award in honor of their extraordinary contributions to the nursing profession, sustained over the course of their careers.

Dr. Maas and colleague Dr. Janet Specht developed entrepreneurial interventions to provide needed nurse managed long-term care options for elders including an alternative facility, Liberty Country Living, for persons with dementia, and a nurse managed organization, HomeSafe, to assist people to stay in their own homes as long as possible. HomeSafe is still operating in the Iowa City area. Dr. Maas had a passion for improving the care of older adults and preparing nurses to provide that care. She was a mentor extraordinaire.

Meridean and her husband Dick were long-time members of the Liscomb Church of Christ. She felt blessed by the love of immediate and extended family and felt great pride for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. As a couple, they were blessed with the opportunity to travel around the world and treasured those memories. She and Dick shared their love of watching Hawkeye football and men’s and women’s basketball games.

Meridean is survived by her three children: Robin (Rick) Maas-Galloway, of Clear Lake, IA, Richard Maas II, of Marengo, IA and Regan (Tony) Maas-Forsmark, of Northridge, CA; nine grandchildren: Lara (Chip) Galloway-Wandling, Reid Galloway, Ryan Galloway, Reece Maas, Ryleigh Maas, Calvin Maas, Samantha Maas, Delaney Forsmark and Everley Forsmark; four great grandchildren: Loic Wandling, Mira Wandling, Belen Wandling and Neve Wandling and many extended family members and friends.

Meridean was preceded in death by her husband Dick on April 20, 2020, and her parents, Miriam and Kenneth. The family requests that cards and memorials be sent to:

The Maas Family, 17 W. Venetian Dr., Clear Lake, IA 50428, in care of: Robin Maas-Galloway Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service in Iowa City is handling arrangements. www.lensingfuneral.com.