Jean Pinder, a pioneer in advanced professional education for African American women, died peacefully September 7, 2014 after a short illness. Born September 2, 1916, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her RN certification from UC- Berkeley in 1940. She taught in the nursing program at Dillard University, 1942-46, and went on to graduate from Yale School of Public Health in 1947, among the first African American women to do so.
She joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1953, was among the first US State Department Agency for International Development personnel serving in pre- and early post-Independence-era Africa in Liberia, Ghana, and, in her later career, as the Washington-based USAID consultant for Maternal and Child Health across North Africa.
She retired in 1982 to Tucson, Arizona, where she remained active in community public health actions, the Episcopal Church, and as a violinist for the Community Orchestra of Tucson. Cataclysmic onset of dementia forced her relocation with her long-time friend Elouise Duncan, the first African American woman to graduate from Yale’s School of Nursing, into the home of Elouise’s son, Jean’s godson, Henry, his wife Magdeline and their children, in Gaithersburg, MD. The Duncans cared for both women through Elouise’s death in 2007 and then for Jean until a hip fracture in 2012 required long-term residential care. Jean is survived by the Duncan family, that of her step-son, Dr. Frank Pinder, Jr., and friends who loved her very much.