In Loving Memory

If you would like to share a memory and/or photo of an AHNA member who has passed, please send it to to be included on this page.

A tribute to the passing of our friend and colleague Mary Charlotte Shealy
April 21, 2011

Chardy Shealy was one of the original group of American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) founding members.  Chardy first came into our lives as wife of Norm Shealy, M.D., PhD and founder of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA).  Charlotte McGuire, AHNA founder, first met Norm and Chardy at one of the early annual meetings of the AHMA in 1980. At this meeting Charlotte (Charlie) committed to the founding of the AHNA. Chardy joined Charlotte, Barbara (Barbie) Dossey, and several others at the founding meeting in Houston, Texas in January 1981.  On the heels of that formative meeting, the first AHNA annual conference was held in LaCross, Wisconsin in June 1981that was a joint meeting of the AHNA and AHMA.  Again, Chardy was there and joined Charlotte, Lynn Keegan, and a handful of others to nationally initiate AHNA at its first annual conference. 

Norm and Chardy lived close to LaCross on a farm where they grew and ate natural foods and Chardy could be with her beloved horses.  Chardy was a mother, a wife, and the breeder of fine Appaloosa horses. Chardy drafted the first version of the AHNA bylaws.  In the early AHNA years Chardy served actively on the Board of Directors, and served as the first editor of our Journal of Holistic Nursing.  She was an energetic contributor and was loved by those who knew her well. 

Following the Shealy’s move from Wisconsin to Missouri, Chardy became increasing involved in her horse business and family responsibilities and had less time for activities on a national level.  She did, however, always maintain connect with AHNA and her nursing colleagues.

Those of us who personally knew Mary Charlotte Shealy will miss her presence. Her life and work will always have an influence through the contributions she made in the AHNA formative years.  We will all miss her intellect, vitality, and spirit.
Offered by Lynn Keegan and Barbara Dossey

Honoring Our Elder
Bea Alley RN (1921-2011)

Wendy Wetzel RN MSN FNP AHN-NP

Some of my favorite AHNA conference memories revolve around the times shared with Bea Alley, our Holistic Nurse of the Year in 2000.  I met Bea at her first conference and happily anticipated reconnecting with her every year after that.  Sometimes, we were in the same sharing circle; other times we shared sacred moments in hallways, at the pool, or over meals.  We always found time for that heart connection. 

Bea brought us many laughs (often hysterical), as she actively (and I mean actively!) participated in the annual auction.  She often bid on the most unlikely items and so graciously gave of herself with generous donations to AHNA.  She could dance with abandon, sing with passion, wear outrageous costumes, and love without limits. 

One of my golden moments with Bea was at the 1999 AHNA Conference in Phoenix.  After one of the keynote speeches, we sat on the side of the stage, holding hands, and she shared some of her many stories of facing discrimination as a woman of color.   She experienced segregation in nursing school, and in hospitals.   With AHNA, she told me, there were no barriers based on color or belief.  AHNA was her joy, and conferences her lifeblood.  It was that conversation that led me to nominate Bea as Holistic Nurse of the Year.   It was one of her proudest moments.

The daughter of share croppers from Georgia, Bea attended nursing school in New York and  joined the Army after her graduation, serving in both segregated and non-segregated units during her 10 years of service.   After completing her BSN in 1955, she worked in public health, industrial nursing, and private duty where, she said, she could give the best care.   She followed her heart and studied a variety of alternative practices including Amma Therapy and holistic nutrition. 

As I learned of her final illness, I remembered her smile, her hugs, her wisdom, and her laugh.  And as we waited for news from her family, I came upon this poem from another wise woman, Clarissa Pinkola Estes PhD, Jungian analyst and author of Women Who Run With The Wolves.  With Dr. Estes’ kind permission, I offer this to Bea, her memory and her legacy, and to all of us who will miss her.

Safe Journeys, My Dear Sister.  We will remember you with fondness, laughter, tears, and grace.  We honor you as an elder, wild woman, mentor, role model, and healer.

by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

For all the elders of the world, each and every kind ever created,
those who have been carried gently by the waves,
and those who have been half wrecked
by any number of storms and squalls,
those who have clung to wreckage long enough
to make it halfway in,
and thence to have gained landfall…
For elders who in all their variegations, sorrows and talents,
now stand shy or certain, semi-disheveled or pulled together,
but nonetheless hip-wide and proud…
For the tribes of grand elder women…
in all their feathers and pelts,
all their leaves and skins and skirts,
in all their las ropas guerreras, warrior full dress,
in their wings and sashes
their shawls with their ceremonial brooches, necklaces, and staffs of authority,
in all their athletic and tender pride,
in all their beaks and tails and tulle and toile
that flash and sashay,
in all their sauntering and sensuality,
in all their unexpected and outrageous behaviors,
in all their eccentricities
and all their tribal paint and lace,
in all their clan colors and insignias of power,
with all their fierce and gentle blood and shining eyes…
for all their conserving and sacrificing and generous ways...
for their supreme caring that decency, creative life,
and care for  the soul should not vanish from the face of this earth…
for all this blessed beauty within them…
For them…
let us pray strength and healing
straight down into their courage bones forever.
Aymen [and a little woman]
Reprinted by kind permission of author and publisher: excerpted from "Novena Natus," by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, from the book The Dancing Grandmothers, Frassenelli publisher, Milan, Italy, ©2006 , All Rights Reserved. Further permissions

Tributes to Charlie McGuire


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