Former EMU Nursing Head Passes

Vida S. HuberVida J. Huber
Credit: JMU Photography Services

Vida J. Huber, 68, who was instrumental in the development and growth of the baccalaureate nursing program at Eastern Mennonite University, died of an intracranial hemorrhage on Sunday, Nov. 20, at University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

Dr. Huber was flown by Pegasus helicopter to U.Va. after being admitted to Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg Saturday, Nov. 19, suffering from severe headaches.

Huber was an associate dean of the College of Integrated Science and Technology (CISAT) at James Madison University in Harrisonburg at the time of her death. She was also director of the Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services and professor of nursing at JMU. From 1967 to 1984, she was chair of the nursing department at EMU.

"Vida brought many ideas to EMU from her graduate school days at Columbia Teacher’s College," said EMU Provost Beryl H. Brubaker, who succeeded Huber as nursing department chair. "She and I worked closely together in the 1970s as the faculty developed EMU’s innovative nursing program, much of which continues to the present.

"Vida was an important mentor to me and many other faculty and students, both at EMU and JMU where she worked in recent years," Dr. Brubaker said. She also was an influential member of the faculty at large at EMU. Her passing is another reminder of the tenuousness of this life we hold so dear."

Huber was born Mar. 27, 1937 in West Liberty, Ohio, and was the daughter of the late Laban L. and Nanna Bender Swartzentruber.

On June 6, 1970, she married Harold E. Huber, who survives. He retired in December, 2004, after 30 years at EMU, most recently serving as assistant in the archives and Menno Simons Historical Library. Also surviving is a daughter, Heidi, and her husband David Schanberger of Baltimore, Md., a brother and four sisters.

She received M.A. and Ed.D. degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University, a B.S.N. from Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU) and a diploma from Milford (Del.) Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.

Huber was active in numerous professional, civic and health-related organizations, including serving as president or board member of the Valley AIDS Network and the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Free Clinic. She held a variety of leadership positions at Broad Street Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg.

Funeral services were held Nov. 23 at Weavers Mennonite Church west of Harrisonburg, with burial in the Weavers cemetery.