Obituary: Gellestrina DiMaggio, Founding Faculty Member of College of Nursing

Gellestrina DiMaggio
Gellestrina DiMaggio

Gellestrina DiMaggio, 95, of Boston and Arlington, a founding faculty member of the College of Nursing, died Dec. 21.

Born May 12, 1923, she grew up in New London, Connecticut. She graduated from Connecticut College in 1944 and Yale School of Nursing in 1947. She worked at Yale New Haven Hospital and then received her master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teacher College.

She joined UMass Amherst as a nursing instructor in 1954. A group that included DiMaggio, founding dean Mary A. Maher and two other founding faculty created the first baccalaureate program in nursing in the state, which eventually became the College of Nursing. Her clinical expertise was in the field of in maternal-child nursing, and she received national awards for her contributions. She left the university as professor of nursing in 1969.

She moved to Boston and became an administrator in nursing at Massachusetts General Hospital, eventually becoming acting director of nursing. She retired from MGH in 1985.

She was also one of the founding members of the “village concept” in Beacon Hill Village in Boston, a community of people over 50 “who prosper from directing our lives and creating our own future.” The village conceptmodel is now used throughout the United States.

She leaves a sister, Rosemary Courtney of Orange, Connecticut.

Donations may be made in her memory to Mass General Hospital Development Office, for the Department of Nursing, 125 Nashua St., Suite 540, Boston 02114-1101 or to UMass Amherst College of Nursing, 651 North Pleasant St., Amherst 01003-9270.