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Remembering Professor Patricia Trachsel, PhD

Patricia Trachsel, PhD 1942-2022



November 15, 2022

School of Nursing Professor Patricia Trachsel, PhD ’64 passed away on November 1, 2022, after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia.

Born in 1942 in Webster, Ia., she grew up on a soybean and dairy farm where the family motto was “everybody works.” She helped with milking, feeding, and farming throughout her childhood. In high school, she was a basketball star, averaging 27 points per game and leading them to the state competition.

She graduated from Graceland with her RN degree in 1964, the same year that she married her college sweetheart Ron Trachsel ’61.

After graduating from the nursing program at the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital, Trachsel went on to a successful career in nursing and education. She earned her PhD and worked for the University for 20 years, including a stint as the Dean of the School of Nursing, before retiring as a professor.

Former colleague Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD said, “Pat was one of the pioneer faculty members in the distance learning RN-BSN program. Her caring attitude and rapid response to students’ needs was a major determinant in the success and growth of the program. Her quiet leadership was also felt and respected among her peers when she later served in a variety of administrative roles.”

In addition to her work at Graceland, Trachsel worked with Kirkpatrick as a long-time member of the HealthEd Connect Professional Nurses Association committee that awarded nursing scholarships to students in numerous developing countries. This was especially meaningful to her since the scholarship was initially started by graduates of the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital School of Nursing, affectionately referred to as the “San,” where she earned her diploma in nursing.  This year, the nursing scholarship fund she helped establish provided eleven scholarships in four countries.

Former colleague and current Professor of Nursing Sharon Little-Stoetzel, PhD, described Trachsel as “kind, smart, a mentor to many, and pro-Graceland.”

Trachsel had many talents and passions outside of the classroom as well. She loved music, playing the piano, directing the children’s choirs at her congregation, cooking, canning, gardening, flowers, birds, traveling, and most of all her family.

She is survived by her husband, three children, twelve grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, two brothers, and many friends, Graceland nursing students, and colleagues that she impacted over the years.

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