Cover photo for Claire M. Coppage's Obituary
Claire M. Coppage Profile Photo
1928 Claire M. 2005

Claire M. Coppage

November 26, 1928 — October 21, 2005

Claire Coppage had prime virtue of a nurse, caring.-Claire's caring was to prevent illness, rather than care for ill persons. She devoted a long career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to teaching others how to prevent infections in hospitals. Thousand of nurses participated in the training programs designed and taught at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta and in the field. Claire received her nursing degree from the Medical College of Virginia and her Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to beginning work in 1958 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, she worked with the Visiting Nurses Association in Alexandria, VA, served as Director of Nursing in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia's School of Nursing. In 1960, Claire was commissioned as Captain in the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, and was stationed at the CDC in Atlanta where she remained until her retirement. She developed and taught both national and international training programs for nursing education in public health, and was independently responsible for establishing infection control as a nursing specialty. At one point, she developed and taught the only training class in the world for infection control nurses. She achieved a life-long mission in this major accomplishment, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Award for her outstanding contributions in the field of public health. A resident of Acworth, she has spent the last months of her life in Hospice Care at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta where she died October 21, 2005. "Claire's dedication to disease prevention has had a long term impact on improved patient care," said Dr. David Sencer, former Director of CDC, "Claire trained nurses to be the leader of the infection control team, and established their professional recognition as such. Claire had a way of getting your attention. The first time we met, she told me I was a Scorpio!" Her passion for nursing was equaled only by her passion for animals. She spent her free time working with animal rescue shelters and her many cats. Her favorite and deeply loved cat, Chehaha, preceded her in death. She was a licensed professional astrologer and enjoyed fine flowers such as orchids. She is survived by a family of friends. Her parents, Dr. John and Sadie Brown Cain, preceded her in death. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following organizations: Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, UT 84741; D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, P.O. Box 9, Glendale, CA 91209; Siamese Cat Rescue Center of Virginia, 366 Meander Run Road, Locust Dale, VA 22948; or Primarily Primates, Inc., P.O. Box 207, San Antonio, TX 78291. A memorial service will be held in the chapel of A. S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home on Monday, October 24th at 7:00 p.m. A graveside service and interment will be held Wednesday, October 26th at 1:00 p.m. at the Georgia War Veterans Cemetery in Milledgeville, GA. The family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday at A. S. Turner & Sons.

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