Dr. Mary Jane (Shirar) Hanson, 68, died on Monday, February 28, 2022, at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township, after a courageously fought medical battle. Born in Lehighton on March 2, 1953, she was the daughter of the late Loretta (Krum) and William Shirar.
She was a professor and graduate program director for nursing at the University of Scranton from 1996 until the present time. Before that, she taught at Cedar Crest College in Allentown.
She also had over 25 years of experience as a nurse practitioner and maintained a current part-time family nurse practitioner practice. Dr. Hanson is also a nationally recognized behavioral researcher regarding cigarette smoking and has received grant funding for her research from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Hanson had published more than 30 papers in national and international peer-reviewed journals. In addition, she regularly presented her research at regional, national and international scientific conferences. Mary Jane was also active in service to her profession and has served as a member of national committees for nursing accreditation. She was also currently serving as the chair of the Commission on the Collegiate Nursing Education Board.
A 1971 graduate of Lehighton Area High School, she first worked as an x-ray technician for many years before graduating from Cedar Crest College in 1982 with a B.S.N. She then obtained her M.S.N and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.Throughout her career, she was awarded many honors, including being inducted as a Fellow into both the American Acadamy of Nursing and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; Provost Enhancement Award for Excellence in Scholarly Publication; and also designated as a Graduate of Distinction of Lehighton Area High School.
In addition, she volunteered on committees in her church, Trinity Lutheran in Lehighton, and at local animal shelters.
Mostly, Mary Jane will be lovingly missed and remembered by her brother, William and his wife Maria, all of her extended family members and her dear friends. She was always thrilled to host family gatherings, which served as an integral part of keeping connected, as well as for many loving memories. She is also survived by her beautiful horses, Bandi,CB, Spirit and Beau; as well as her cats, Pumpkin, Pekoe, Tigger, Raven, Blackie and Bandit. She recently also experienced the loss of her sweet Husky, Reba as well as her horse, Lace.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Dylan and Gavin’s Rainbow Ministry, PO Box 511, Lehighton, PA. 18235; or Carbon County Friends of Animals, 77 West 13th Street, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229