‘A Role Model for All of Us’
Betty Borenstein Scher ’50, an energetic nurse, tireless historian, past president of the Alumni Association and editor of its magazine, Vigilando, hospice volunteer, and beloved member of the Johns Hopkins Nursing community, passed away at age 87 as this issue was about to be published.
Betty, who in 2000 was awarded the Johns Hopkins Heritage Award, given to alumni who have contributed much to the university and its alumni association, was working with the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing on an archival project even up to the last week of her life. She was also a Director Emeritus on the Johns Hopkins Nursing Alumni Association (JHNAA) Board and a member of its Archives Committee. She contributed the Who Is This Alumna? feature for this page.
Gerry Peterson ’64, who worked with Betty on the JHNAA Board, said, “Betty was a role model for all of us. She was faithful in attending Board meetings, passionate about the strength of the school and the alumni, and she generously donated her time to the Archives–for which we are all grateful. She will be missed.”
Born in Baltimore, Betty Borenstein graduated from Western High School. Her father told her she should attend Goucher College, but she had decided on the College of William and Mary, and enrolled behind his back. “She was fiercely independent,” daughter-in-law Danielle Ewen told the Baltimore Sun. After graduation, she enrolled in the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, where she met her future husband, Sidney Scher. Later, colleagues at Sinai Hospital would nickname her the “Bionic Woman.”
The mother of two daughters and two sons, Betty had incredible energy throughout her life, her children said. Nearly until her death, she played soccer and baseball with her grandchildren. And at 81, she went white water rafting in New Mexico with them.
“She was active. She was fit. She wanted to be part of her grandchildren’s lives in a way that was meaningful to them,” her daughter-in-law told the Sun.
In addition to her sons, David Scher of North Carolina and Bob Scher of Washington, DC, Betty is survived by her daughters, Linda of New Mexico and Susan of Baltimore, and five grandchildren. Sidney Scher died in 1977.
There will be an article in the next issue’s Vigilando section about Betty’s remarkable contribution to the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives.