Longtime AOA, California optometric leader and educator dies

February 6, 2017
AOA offers condolences to family of Harue Jean Marsden, O.D.
Harue Jean Marsden, O.D.

Photo credit: Credit California Optometric Association

It is with great sadness that AOA notes the passing of Harue Jean Marsden, O.D., on Feb. 2, 2017. A longtime AOA volunteer, leader and academic, Dr. Marsden was a shrewd counsellor and teacher whose passion for optometric education heartened countless students toward professional leadership roles.

A resident of Fullerton, California, Dr. Marsden graduated with her Doctor of Optometry degree from Marshall B. Ketchum University Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) in 1987 and promptly joined its faculty in 1989 upon receiving a master's degree in Physiological Optics from the University of Houston College of Optometry.

At SCCO, Dr. Marsden climbed the ranks to become a professor, associate dean of clinical education and director of externships, where she directed student outreach missions. She also was an owner and partner of Granada Hills Optometric Center and Diamond Eye Optometry, north of Los Angeles, California.  

Optometry benefited internationally from her published research and lectures in the areas of orthokeratology, contact lens management of the post-surgical cornea and laboratory testing. She had primary clinical responsibilities in the cornea and contact lens service, serving as chief.  

Dr. Marsden, California Optometric Association (COA) president from 2010 to 2011 and a COA Legislation and Regulation Committee member, was an active AOA member and a member of the AOA Contact Lens and Cornea Section since 1990. She volunteered on numerous AOA committees, including the Evidence-Based Optometry (EBO) and Affiliate Partner Membership committees, as well as the AOA's Political Action Committee.

Dr. Marsden also volunteered with the Orange County Optometric Society, Great Western Council of Optometry and Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators, in addition to the American Academy of Optometry.  

"On behalf of the university, I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our colleague and dear friend, Dr. Harue Marsden," said SCCO President Kevin Alexander, O.D., Ph.D. "Harue's long battle with cancer was just part of the heroic efforts she made on behalf of our entire institution over many years. Dr. Marsden had a strong work ethic and was incredibly resilient until the very end, even attending the university's annual Circle of Vision luncheon and continuing to see patients at Ketchum Health until the end of January. She will be greatly missed and forever remembered as an alumna and revered member of the faculty at the Southern California College of Optometry."  

AOA President Andrea P. Thau, O.D., expressed her sorrow for the loss of an inspiring and enthusiastic colleague, and asked for a moment of silence to commence AOA's 2017 Volunteer Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, February 3-4.  

"Dr. Harue Marsden was a life force who dedicated herself to the advancement of our profession and patient care as a leader and role model," Dr. Thau says. "Always upbeat with high energy, she didn't let her courageous battle against cancer stop her from working and volunteering up until the very end with a smile on her face. She gave her all and made the world a better place. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and her memory will serve as an inspiration to continue her life's work."  

Dr. Marsden's passing was especially felt throughout the Volunteer Meeting, where countless committees and doctors fondly remembered her ebullient spirit. In recognizing her committee at the meeting's closing session, Diane Adamczyk, O.D., AOA EBO Committee chair, sadly noted Dr. Marsden's absence.  

"I have to say that there's one person whose hand isn't in the air today, and it's Dr. Harue Marsden," Dr. Adamczyk told volunteers. "We, as a committee, cry a tear for her because we all worked very, very closely with her. I can't imagine anyone in the room didn't know her, because everyone knows her laugh, her dedication and her verve for life. I tell you that with our clinical guidelines—our pediatric guideline—part of her is in that work, and we will miss her very much."  

A memorial service will be held at the Marshall B. Ketchum University campus in Fullerton on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. The SCCO encourages colleagues, students, friends, family and classmates to share their memories and photos of Dr. Marsden with the university.

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