Arline M. Duvall, 71, longtime professor of public health nursing, worked overseas


Arline M. Duvall, a retired professor of public health nursing who after retirement helped establish schools of nursing overseas for Project Hope, died Sunday of heart failure at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. She was 71.

Born and raised in Sherwood Forest, Anne Arundel County, she received her early education in a one-room school before graduating from Annapolis High School in 1944.

A registered nurse, the 1948 graduate of the Church Home Hospital School of Nursing in Baltimore began her career at the old Anne Arundel General Hospital, now Anne Arundel Medical Center.

In the early 1950s, she joined the Anne Arundel County Health Department and worked as a public health nurse until leaving to earn a bachelor's degree in public health nursing from the University of North Carolina.

She returned to the county Health Department as a public health nurse and was promoted to a supervisor in the department's Odenton office.

After earning a master's degree in public health nursing from the University of Michigan, she was an instructor in that field at the University of Alabama and later joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as an assistant professor.

She earned her doctorate in public health nursing from Columbia University and, in the early 1970s, joined the faculty of Clemson University, where she was a professor of public health nursing until retiring in 1986.

"She was intelligent, articulate and very compassionate," Geraldine Labecki, retired dean of the Clemson University School of Nursing, said yesterday.

"Her students always spoke very highly of her, and many of them continued to keep in touch with her. She was an extremely caring person," said Ms. Labecki of Niantic, Conn.

After retiring from Clemson, Miss Duvall worked for Project Hope, where she helped establish public health nursing programs in nursing schools in Egypt. She also helped found nursing schools in Egypt and Swaziland.

"She really didn't want to stop working after retiring from Clemson. She just wanted to help and knew that there were so many in need," said a sister, Dorothy Ellen Duvall of Gambrills, with whom she lived.

She retired from Project Hope in 1992 and returned to Gambrills.

At the time she returned her license to the Maryland State Nursing Board last year, Miss Duvall wrote, "It is with a feeling of joy and achievement that I return my license to practice nursing in the State of Maryland.

"When I made my commitment to practice nursing in 1948, I had no idea that in the ensuing 50 years I would care for thousands of patients, teach somewhat fewer thousand nursing students and participate in bringing the word of health and care to the community. My 50-year commitment was to public health and community health nursing. Thank you for the opportunity to serve," she wrote.

A striking, soft-spoken woman who was 5 feet 7 inches tall and favored straw hats in warm weather, Miss Duvall had a reputation for never turning down a request for help.

"If something needed to be done, she did it. She never said no," said her sister Dorothy Duvall.

Interested in genealogy, she was a member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and had held various offices in the Anne Arundel County chapter of the organization, including chairwoman of genealogical records of the Maryland chapter.

She was a descendant of Mareen Duvall, who settled in Londontowne, Anne Arundel County, in 1654. She was recording secretary of the Mareen Duvall Society.

She also enjoyed reading mysteries, biographies and novels as well as crocheting and needlework.

She was a communicant and the first woman to be a senior warden of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 1110 St. Stephens Church Road, Crownsville, where services will be held at 10 a.m. today.

In addition to her sister, she is survived by three other sisters, Mary Vivian Brennan and May Duvall Morgan, both of Annapolis, and Muriel Duvall Alsobrook of Summerfield, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews.

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