HURON — Spirit of Dakota winner Beverly Stabber Warne of Rapid City is credited with transforming healthcare throughout her 50-plus years of service, providing a voice for diversity and support to American Indian nursing students across the globe — from Pine Ridge to Bankok, Thailand.
“I’m rarely speechless but here I am, this is unexpected and I am very honored,” Warne said after receiving the honor.
Warne was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and Lakota is her first language. After high school, she attended St. John’s McNamara School of Nursing in Rapid City, graduating in 1962. She began her nursing career and continued her post-graduate work at Arizona State University where she earned her baccalaureate and master’s degrees.
Along with serving in hospitals and clinics, she served on the faculty at Mesa Community College for 17 years, teaching nursing courses and American Indian culture courses. She served as Director of American Indian Students United for Nursing Program at Arizona State University. Her personal history helped her students better understand the challenges as well as courage and spirit needed to succeed.
Now retired, Warne has returned to South Dakota and continues to be an advocate and mentor, and works on behalf of American Indian students at the SDSU College of Nursing Native American Nursing Education Center in Rapid City. Her personal history helped her students to better understand the challenges of forced assimilation as well as the courage and spirit that enabled her to succeed in her chosen profession.
Warne gained a unique global perspective through her world travels and living in Bangkok, Thailand, and Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Her journey has not been a solitary one. Her willingness to serve others included not only those lives she touched in her professional career, but also within her family circle.
Early in her marriage to Jim Warne Sr., the couple faced together the challenges that would come from her husband’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis. For 47 years, until his passing in 2010, she was at her husband’s side while continuing her work and raising two sons who would ultimately choose careers in medicine. Her son, Jim Warne Jr., is the Community Engagement Director at the Center for Disabilities at the University of South Dakota, while son Dr. Donald Warne is a professor and associate dean at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota.
Warne was nominated for the 2018 award by classmates from St. John’s McNamara School of Nursing, Class of 1962.
Her nomination letter reads in part, “As Lakota people, Bev and her sons thrived and provided service and meaning amidst cultural barriers. Bev always strove to help all the Lakota people by education, encouragement, example and a vision for the future. She worked to help all students reach their potential. She has remained a close, steadfast friend of all of us since our 1962 graduation.”