History of GCNA

The Greater Cleveland Nurses Association (GCNA) has continuously promoted the profession of nursing in Cleveland under  various names since its founding on May 28, 1900 (incorporated in 1909). A group of nurses, wanting to raise the profession’s standards, to improve conditions for practicing nurses, to help furnish nurses to persons unable to pay, “to stimulate an interest in nursing affairs and to conduct a central registry” created a nursing association. The group soon became known as the Graduate Nurses’ Association.  Of initial importance was the central registry, which provided both hospitals and private patients with trained nurses until it closed in 1974. Fifty-five nurses were on the registry after the first year. The early association received financial aid from the Isabel Hampton Robb Memorial Committee. I. H. Robb was a national leader in the nursing profession and a member of the Graduate Nurses’ Association until her death in 1910.

In June 1918 the association merged with the newly formed (November 1917) District Association #4 of the Ohio State Association of Graduate Nurses, which included the Cleveland area. Another group, the Visiting Nurse Club, also joined District #4 at this time.  In 1921 the district filed new articles of incorporation as a non-profit organization, emphasizing education and increased efficiency in nursing care.

During the 1930s the association called for the establishment of a nursing division in the Ohio Department of Health and worked for proper salary and position recognition of nurses in public health and for an eight-hour day for private nurses working in hospitals. During World War II,  GCNA worked with agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Ohio Council of Defense. After the war, and into the 1970s, the association established committees for nurses working in specialized areas – industrial nursing, nurse practitioners, cardiovascular nursing, and public health, and created a Psychiatric-Mental Health Practice Division (1971). In the 1970s and 1980s, the association increased its public-health awareness programs and advocated the rights of nurses in the workplace. As an example, in 1969 the GCNA passed a resolution supporting collective bargaining by nurses at St. Vincent Charity Hospital. The association has also supported legal action against employers who discriminate against nurses as women.

GCNA Presidents

before 1922 Mrs. Askue

1922 – 1924 Miss Hanna Buchanan

1924 – 1926 Miss Estelle Koch

1926 – 1928 Miss Edith Tunstead

1928 – 1930 Miss Marion Howell

1930 – 1932 Cora M. Templeton

1932 – 1934 Anna Gillis

1934 – 1936 Jeannie Jamison

1936 – 1938 Sue McCracken

1938 – 1940 Leona Fretter

1940 – 1942 Emma Seckel

1942 – 1943 Esta McNett

1943 – 9/1943 Margaret King (WWII armed services)

6/1943 – 1946 Carrie Lewis

1946 – 1949 Lydia Mueller

1950 – 1951 Marjorie A. Patten

1951 – 1953 Dorothy Malafa

1953 – 1955 Dorothea Burens

1956 – 1958 Clara Travers

1958 – 1960 Evelyn Barnes

1960 – 1963 Jean Haas

1963 – 1965 Olga Benderoff

1965 – 1967 Marian Bittman

1967 – 1969 Elizabeth K. Porter

1969 – 1971 Nancy Voelker

1971 – 1973 Donna Ballantyne

1973 – 1977 Judith Wood

1977 – 1979 Sandra Shumway

1979 – 1983 Sally Lambert

1983 – 1987                    Judith Beeler      

1987 – 9/1988                Patrice McCarthy          

9/1988 – 1989                Catherine Mohney            

1989 – 1993                    Helen Foley          

1993 – 1995                    Sandra Groudle

1995 – 1997                    Bette Idemoto          

1997 – 1999                    Kathleen Montgomery

1999 – 2001 Maureen Mitchell

2001 – 2003 Lynn Ahlers

2003 – 2005 Roberta Kordish

2005 – 2007 Diane Winfrey

2007 – 2009 Dorothy Hamilton

2009 – 2011 Carol Sams

2011 – 2013 Betty Freund

2013 – 2015 Mary Joyce

2015 – 2017 Khaliah Fisher-Grace

2017 – 2018 Gerry Pangrac

2018 – 2019 Judith Beeler

2019 – 2021 Meghan Ramic

2021 – present Penni Lynn Rolen

Executive Directors of GCNA

Paid Private Duty officers & staff ran the office until 1967

5/1967 – 1978 Donna Hughes

1978 – 1992 Gale Bromelmeier

1993 – 1996 Judith Moliterno

1996 – 2003 Patricia Divoky

2003—2018 Jeff Groth, Executive Assistant 

2018 – present Carol Sams