University of California: In Memoriam, 1986

Eugenia Helma Waechter, Nursing: San Francisco


The tragic death of Eugenia Waechter in a fire in her home in January of 1982 was a loss to the School of Nursing and countless colleagues worldwide. Dr. Waechter was acting chair of the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at the time, in the process of completing the tenth edition of her authoritative text Nursing Care of Children, and was involved in the federally funded research project “Living with Childhood Cancer.”

A member of the School of Nursing faculty since 1964, Waechter received her AA degree in pre-nursing at St. John's College in Winfield, Kansas, her nursing diploma from Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, the BS in biological science and public health nursing and the MA in pediatric nursing from the University of Chicago. She studied advanced maternal child nursing at UCSF, and received the Ph.D. in child development education from Stanford University.

Throughout her distinguished career, her research interest was in the area of chronic and life-threatening illness in children. Her initial research was the first controlled study in which fatally ill children were actually interviewed. Her work--done at a time when it was still uncommon to discuss with children their impending death--was the foundation of many subsequent and well known inquiries and helped change the nature of family care of the fatally ill child.

Her impact on students was characterized by challenges, caring, and consultation. They expressed their delight in finding this scholar so accessible, so compassionate with their patients (and not insignificantly, with them) and so crisply challenging in her demands on their scholarship. Graduates continued to work in collaboration with her and took their research to the far corners of the globe. Their admiration is acknowledged by the establishment of the Eugenia H. Waechter Award for Junior Faculty--an award presented annually by students to the most promising researcher in junior faculty ranks.

In 1978 she was elected as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing, and in 1979 listed in the International Who's Who in Education,

published by the International Biographical Center, Cambridge, England. In 1982 the UCSF School of Nursing Faculty voted unanimously to honor Eugenia H. Waechter posthumously with the Helen Nahm Research Lecture Award.

This warm, generous, and kindly woman of great intellect and capacity will be missed by her colleagues and friends.

Betty L. Highley

About this text
Courtesy of University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000;
Title: 1986, University of California: In Memoriam
By:  University of California (System) Academic Senate, Author
Date: 1986
Contributing Institution:  University Archives, The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000;
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