Mae Van Hiatt of Raleigh, N.C. died Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at Rex Hospital, at 77 years of age. Mae Van has been the loving wife of Charles James Hiatt Jr. (Jim) since their marriage on September 8, 1962.
She was born on October 13, 1937 in High Point, N.C. as the first child of Mires Joseph Zett Sr. and Beatrice Cagle Zett. She has one brother Mires Joseph Zett Jr. of Palm Coast, Florida.
Mae Van loved being a nurse and her patients loved her. She was always a teacher whether it was with her students, her patients or a neighbor who had a health issue. She was often called upon in the middle of the night by neighbors who were sick or experiencing heart attacks, diabetic emergencies and strokes. She always went readily and was considered by many as the go-to person for health information.
She graduated from High Point Hospital Nursing School as an RN and then went on to get her BS in Nursing from UNC, working her way through college at UNC Hospital as a nurse. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1962. Following graduation, she continued her career at High Point Hospital before she and her husband moved to Winston Salem. She worked in operating and emergency room departments as well as taught nursing at Baptist Hospital. In 1969 they moved to Raleigh where Mae Van continued her nursing career and taught nursing at Rex Hospital. One of her recent caregivers recognized Mae Van and asked if she was the instructor who had taught her nursing at Rex. She helped establish and manage what is now known as the Rex Hospital Home Health Program. She devoted the last 20 years of her nursing career working at the Wake County Public Health Department. She worked in clinics across the county and acted as a liaison/coordinator between the health department, Wake and Rex Hospitals and Home Health Programs across Wake County, a position that predated many of the discharge coordinator positions that are now standard in hospitals. In addition, she worked as a home health nurse, traveling to all areas of the city and county providing excellent in-home nursing care to her many patients. She retired from the health department as supervisor of the Immunization Clinic, working with children, adults and foreign travelers.
Beyond nursing Mae Van was an avid reader and loved music, playing 2nd chair Cello for the Winston Salem Orchestra. She loved the beach, science and all things nature with particular interest in volcanoes, geology and meteorology. She had a passion for traveling with her family and in particular enjoyed visiting Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii.
She was the best wife, sister, mother, grandmother and friend anyone could ever have and we will all miss her, but will feel her giving, caring spirit forever.
In addition to her husband Jim and brother Mires and wife Brenda, she is survived by twin daughters, Dawn Renee Rathge and husband, Steven; Cherie Dara Taylor and husband Earl. She is also survived by 2 grandsons, twin brothers Charles Jacob Taylor (Jake) and Joseph Lucas Taylors (Luke) and 3 granddaughters Anne Miller Royals Taylor, Alyson Nicole (Rathge) and husband Kevin Indenbaum, Morgan Leigh Rathge and fiancé Jeffrey Vohlers. In addition, she is survived by special friend “sister of the heart”, Judy Owen-O’Dowd, of Youngsville, N.C. and her cat “Big Guy”.
Family will receive visitors to celebrate Mae Van’s life from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 1st at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 1701 E. Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC.
Memorial gifts in honor of Mae Van may be sent to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Rex Hospital, American Breast Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood or charity of your choice.