Kathleen Marie (Kearney) (Kaplan) Malaney


Kathleen Marie (Kearney) (Kaplan) Malaney, RN-C, passed away on May 14, 2020, at Birch Bay Village in Bar Harbor of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Her devoted husband, Bob, was by her side. She was 83.

Kathleen was born on May 10, 1937, in Swampscott, Mass., the youngest of four children of Irish immigrants, Julia (O’Brien) and Michael Bernard Kearney. She grew up in Swampscott, attending St. John’s Parochial School and graduating from Swampscott High School in 1955 and from the Salem Hospital School of Nursing in 1957.

A nursing school classmate introduced Kathleen to William B. Volmer, from Salem, Mass. They were married in 1960 and settled in Auburn, where they had three daughters. That marriage ended in divorce. In 1975, Kathleen married Abraham Kaplan, MD, and with him moved to Pennsylvania and Missouri before returning to Maine.

Kathleen had a genuine calling to be a nurse. She worked almost continually from 1957 until her retirement in 2007, and in every job rose to positions of leadership, thanks to her vision, drive and compassion. Her focus, in the early 1980s, turned to geriatric medicine and community health initiatives, and these twin interests would drive the rest of her career.

After working for the Visiting Nurses Association in Missouri and Pennsylvania, in the late 1980s Kathleen became the founding coordinator of the swing-bed program and director of community outreach education at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth. She soon became a nationally recognized pioneer in the field of geriatric advocacy. One of her signal accomplishments was being a co-founder of the Bar Harbor Geriatrics Conference, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

After her second husband’s death in 1994, Kathleen took a position as director of the Division on Aging at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of New England-Biddeford, followed by stints at North Country Associates/Strategic Healthcare Solutions and as director of nursing at Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle. In 2000, she became director of care-management and swing-bed coordinator at Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor. Her expertise, especially in developing innovative programs for small, rural hospitals, was sought after, and she regularly attended conferences and served on advisory committees. Her final professional role was as interim director of Birch Bay Village.

In 2005, Kathleen met Cmdr. Robert E. Malaney, U.S. Navy (ret.), of Bar Harbor. They were married in 2006 and enjoyed several happy years together traveling, gardening, going to the movies and the opera, visiting with children and grandchildren, and socializing with friends, before the swift advancement of her final illness in 2016.

Kathleen possessed a readiness to laugh and have fun, a quality her granddaughters especially enjoyed. She inherited the family appreciation of music and the family gifts for baking and gardening. In her work and life, she was spirited, opinionated and generous. Kathleen made and nourished lifelong friendships and was always there to assist family members and friends in times of need.

She is survived by her husband, Bob Malaney, her daughter Annie Volmer and son-in-law Josh Carpenter (Craftsbury Common, Vt.), her daughter Susan Volmer (Belfast), her daughter Stephanie Volmer (Lambertville, N.J.), her beloved granddaughters Abigail Volmer (Sitka, Alaska), Lelia Volmer (Hardwick, Vt.) and Julia Volmer (Lambertville, N.J.), and several nieces and nephews, to whom she was a devoted aunt.

A private family service will be held at a future date. Donations may be made in Kathleen’s memory to MDI Hospital’s Annual Fund www.mdihospital.org/giving/give-now/, 288-5082, ext. 1429, or to the J. Chase Rand Geriatrics Immersion Scholarship Fund at the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine: https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1080/hybrid/gen.aspx?sid=1080&gid=1&pgid=525&cid=1491, 221-4914.

Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St., Ellsworth.

Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.

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