Judie Lee Smith Snipes, 75, of Troutville, passed away on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.
She was born in Callaway, and moved to the Highland Park neighborhood in Roanoke at the age of 5. She spent summers on the family farm in Callaway where she learned the values of farming/community and how the sharing of work, equipment, knowledge were essential for everyone to succeed. She graduated from Jefferson High School, Class of 1965, with honors and participated in the varsity basketball, gymnastics and choir. The Monday following her high school graduation, she started classes at the Roanoke Memorial Hospital School of Professional Nursing just a few blocks from her home on Highland Avenue. Judie completed her studies, passed the State Board exam and became an RN in 1968 and was still licensed at the time of her death renewing her Nursing License for 2023 just prior to being hospitalized. She became the first in her family to earn a post-secondary degree.
She worked at RMH (head nurse 8East) and also at the (old) Lewis Gale, Burrell, Jefferson, Shenandoah, and Kirk Army Hospitals. Judie also was the practice manager/surgical nurse in Oral Surgery. Always learning, at age 38 Judie graduated from the University of Lynchburg earning a BS – BUS Mgmt – Magna Cum Laude. Then in 1987, she was accepted to attend the William & Mary School of Business attending every weekend while still working full time. She completed her MBA in 1988 and then her leadership training traveling to Chicago and being interviewed by hospital executives (successfully). Judie was recognized as a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives (FACHE). Judie was later recognized as ACHE’s Senior Executive of the Year for Virginia. Eventually Judie was appointed Senior VP for Carilion Clinic. As Master’s degrees became a gateway for nurses to teach/train/advise, many Master’s candidates spent time (often a week) with Judie to get a sense of what their future might encompass (refer to Women at the Top – Roanoke Times – March 22, 1992).
At the hospital, Judie was able to staff ED, Dialysis, cath lab, surgery, and later was a “super user” for the new EMR/EPIC information system.
In a 1992 article in The Roanoke Times titled Women at the Top, she mentioned that today’s top managers are the men who trained under the GI Bill after World War II. Women were not in that pool of qualified candidates. If there are inequalities, it’s because women were unaware of their opportunities even though they dominate the health care industry. Until 10 or 15 years ago from 1992, women aimed to be directors of nursing rather than hospital administrators. Today women are entering the programs and achieving high places in administration. Women must work the same long hours as their male counterparts if they want to reach high executive positions.
In her community, she was a 1970s CPR Am. Heart Assn. Master trainer. Judie actually used CPR in her community on Jefferson St. and for an infant at an Easter Egg Hunt. Both survived. She was the Volunteer of the Year for the Local Am. Heart Assn. (1976-77), the Leader of Pack 1 and T 210 (Boy Scouts of America) where she participated in the Training Wood Badge, backpacking trek at Philmont, lead Wilderness and remote first aid (Red Cross) for adults and older youth, member of the Board BRMC BSA and awarded Scouting’s highest volunteer award, The Silver Beaver.
She traveled to many of the Carilion hospitals, Big Stone Gap, Tazewell, Marion, Bluefield, Lebanon, Wytheville, Lexington, Rocky Mount, Bedford, Southside (Farmville) and worked with the Directors of Nursing and Physicians to meet licensure and quality measures. Judie shared “best practices” from around the system to improve care to the friends, neighbors and relatives in these communities.
Judie was appointed to a 5 year term on Medicare (new/emerging-technology) Review panel and traveled to Medicare Hq, 3 day meetings twice per year (volunteer) partnered with MDs and records admins (from around the country) to evaluate emerging technologies and determine if they added value and whether Medicare should pay for them or not. Her physician partners were from the Mayo Clinic (Internist) and the LSU School of Medicine (Surgeon) along with a pharmacist from L.A. She was awarded the Carilion Nurse of the Year 2005 by vote of the Nursing Team, and awarded the Nightingale Medal in 2001.
Judie was invited to present “systems, quality, and clinical effectiveness topics” to state hospital organizations and health systems – San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Salt Lake City, Orlando, and Portland, Maine. She compiled the many quality initiatives under at Carilion, wrote the story and submitted the information to National Quality which resulted in Carilion winning the national #1 Quality Award in 2000.
In other service, she was a member of the Boards of the Mill Mountain Theater, Family Service of Roanoke Valley, Blue Ridge Mtns. Council BSA, Roanoke Country Club (twice), Smyth County Mem. Hospital, Emergency Meds System Council (Roanoke).
Judie is survived by her husband of 48 years (whom she met at the hospital), Lucas Snipes; son, Scott; and grandchildren, Patrick and Matthew.
There will not be any formal services.