In Memory of a Community Health Nurse

November 2011Megan Smith

The Beki Pastor Endowment will support students committed to community nursing.

When Rebecca Beth (Beki) Pastor was a teenager growing up in the 1960s and 1970s in Detroit, Michigan, a family member’s serious, lengthy illness – and an at sea, academic travel program around the world – inspired a lifelong interest in nursing and helping vulnerable populations.

Pastor would earn a degree from University of Colorado in physical anthropology and another degree from San Francisco State University, where she specialized in community health nursing. She then practiced nursing throughout the Pacific Northwest, including in burn units, before settling in San Francisco. There, in various departments at San Francisco General Hospital, she focused her nursing efforts on those most in need, especially patients in the psychiatric units.

San Francisco’s dynamic culture inspired Pastor’s passion for grassroots movements in art, intellectualism and politics. She pursued avocations in community theater, voice-over recording and global travel. And as a resident of Haight-Ashbury, she developed a deep respect for UCSF, her neighbor on Parnassus Heights. In particular, she admired the School of Nursing, with its reputation for educational excellence and its dedication to service. She was further impressed by the treatments she received at UCSF’s public health care clinics.

Pastor passed away in 2009, but her memory has found a home in the School of Nursing, thanks to a generous gift from her sister, Joan Pastor, PhD, and her father, Manny Pastor. In tribute to Beki Pastor’s affection for UCSF and community nursing, her sister and father have established the Beki Pastor Endowment, which will support students committed to community nursing.

“The memorial for Beki will provide UCSF nursing students with experiences that will open their eyes to the possibilities available in community programs,” says Carmen Portillo, professor and chair, Department of Community Health Systems. “This exposure will help our graduates on their path to improve the health and lives of the underserved and those with the greatest need.”