Through years of working with Dr. Lois Kushner at York Hospital's radiology department, one of Cindy Myers' most cherished memories comes down to footwear.
She said Kushner would store a pair of comfortable shoes in her closet at the hospital for when she needed them. They were, if she remembers correctly, open-toed, white sandals with a little heel that would "clunk" as Kushner made her rounds in the morning, she said.
"You knew she was coming when she was walking down the hall," Myers said.
Kushner, nee Newman, died peacefully on Sept. 28 at age 86.
Trailblazer: Her son, Steve Kushner, was born and raised in York and has since moved to Philadelphia. He said his mother was a traditional one who worked during the day, cooked meals in the evening, attended his sports games and sang at church.
And even though she was a pioneer in her profession, Steve Kushner said he never heard of any problems in the workplace.
"I think she just kind of battled her way through -- because if she had them, I never knew about it," he said.
Myers first met Kushner as a student at the hospital in 1975, when Kushner was a staff radiologist.
"She never let the caring out of what she did ... I think it made her very demanding, but not in a bad way," she said. "You always wanted to meet her expectations."
Kushner went on to serve on the executive committee of the medical staff for five years and chaired the committee from 1977 to 1978. After that, she was the first female president of York Hospital's medical staff from 1980 to 1981.
"One of the things that was so incredible about her is she was a nurse first," said Myers, who's now an operations manager for WellSpan Imaging at the hospital. "She always, always put the patient first. She was always a hands-on caregiver."
Sue Harry, another operations manager, met Kushner in 1973 and said the staff always respected her.
"Just the way she held herself and her poise and all, she kind of commanded the respect -- and she got the respect," she said.
And she was confident in the way she spoke and acted, Harry said, showing her strength at a time when women were only just beginning to assume leadership positions.
"She was very professional," she said. "She could work right along with the men."
'One of a kind': In addition to her son, Kushner is survived by her husband of 57 years, George.
After graduating from Hahnemann Medical College in 1956, the two ran their own general practice for seven years in York.
They would open up their farm in Rothsville to hospital staff and host ice-skating parties, complete with hot chocolate and snacks, Harry said.
"Another really cool thing about her is she knew all of the staff," she said. "She knew about you as people -- your wife, husband, kids, dogs."
It's been about three or four years since Harry last saw her, she said. Kushner would come to the hospital for her annual mammography exam, she said.
"And even after all these years, she'd ask about my children, my grandchildren," Harry said. "I think that was another thing that made her stand out."
And those interpersonal skills carried over to her work: With no holding area in the radiology department, Kushner would grab blankets or sheets to cover patients up and keep them warm, she said.
"She was very, very professional, always," Harry said. "She always had the patients' interests first. ... She was one of a kind."
In memory: Kushner's family has set up the Lois Kushner Nursing Scholarship Fund at York College in her memory. The scholarship will help students pay for their nursing education at the college.
Longtime president George Waldner said that in her role on the Board of Trustees, she supported education: She and her husband cared deeply about the delivery of health care, giving their time, money and talent to build the nursing program.
"She was a serious person," he said. "She cared deeply about meaningful things."
A memorial service for Kushner will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Zion United Methodist Church, 1030 Carlisle Road in West Manchester Township.
Memorial gifts in her name may be made to the Lois Kushner Nursing Scholarship Fund at York College through check or at ycpalumni.com/givetoycp. Checks may be made payable to York College of Pennsylvania.
--Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdis patch.com.