GSA Board Chair Kathryn Hyer Passes Away

Dear GSA Colleagues:

Hyer SquareIt is with heavy hearts that we share news of the death of GSA Board of Directors Chair Kathryn Hyer, MPP, PhD, FGSA, FAGHE. She passed away on January 1 following a battle with cancer.

She was a professor in the School of Aging Studies and director of the Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging at the University of South Florida. Her scholarship focused on the quality of care in long-term care settings, disaster preparedness, curriculum development, and educational evaluation. She also headed her university’s Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program.

Kathy was a GSA member for more than 30 years, and served as an exemplary leader during her 2020 term as president — for example, by establishing and chairing the new GSA COVID-19 Task Force, and establishing the new GSA Diversity and Justice Working Group to increase diversity and inclusion among the membership.

She was well-respected throughout our field for her many accomplishments. She worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the impact of disasters on older adults and to develop appropriate responses, and more broadly served as a champion for ensuring the health care field is adequately trained to serve the older population.

Kathy had just taken office as board chair following her 2020 presidency. New GSA President Theresa A. Harvath, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, will now take on the additional role of board chair.

Those who wish to send condolences or remembrances are invited to email them to Kathy’s husband, Jim Soley, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In accordance with Kathy’s wishes, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to GSA (a Kathryn Hyer Memorial Fund has been created to support our emerging scholars) or the Suncoast Hospice Foundation. An article about Kathy’s life and career has been published in the January issue of Gerontology News, and a full obituary is available online.

Kathy presided over the development of the 2020 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, which was transformed into a fully online event for the first time in the organization’s history. Kathy chose the theme “Turning 75: Why Age Matters.”

In closing, we leave you with Kathy’s own words as inspiration:

“For 75 years, GSA has helped lead our conceptualization and understanding of age and aging. Our work has helped countless older adults, families, professionals caring for older adults, and communities,” Hyer said. “We have accomplished a great deal over the history of GSA, but now is our opportunity to focus on our next 75 years.”


Theresa A. Harvath, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA
President/Board of Directors Chair

James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon)
Chief Executive Officer


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