Cover photo for Rosa Malone Mimms's Obituary
Rosa Malone Mimms Profile Photo

Rosa Malone Mimms

October 27, 1924 — December 30, 2021

Rosa Malone Mimms was born in Central City, Kentucky on October 27,1924. Her family migrated to Tennessee early in her life. She was reared and educated in Nashville, her home since the 1930s. After graduating in 1944 from Pearl High School, she enrolled in nursing school. Rosa met Claude Cornelius Mimms in Nashville, and they married May 18, 1947. Their marriage was blessed with 21 years and one daughter, Sandra.

One of the highlights of Rosa’s life was her acceptance to Meharry Medical College (MMC); she graduated with the Diploma in Nursing in 1947. Sharing the story of her circumstances she stated: As a financially poor person unable to go away to school, this opportunity was a godsend to me. Also, the United States was engaged in World War II. It became very evident that there was a great need to increase the professional nurse pool, especially ‘colored nurses’; that was what we were called then. In 1943, the Bolton Bill authorized the United States Public Health Service to establish the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. This provided the opportunity and the financial means for me to prepare for my lifetime career. After her nursing career began, Rosa enrolled as a “nontraditional” student earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education at Tennessee (A&I) State University in 1963.

After graduating from MMC, Rosa was a staff nurse at Hubbard Hospital, rising through the ranks to become head nurse (obstetrics) and a nursing supervisor. Other nursing opportunities included public health nursing with the Nashville Public Health Department (1948-1950), school nurse at Tennessee (A&I) State University (TSU) in the student infirmary (1951-1957), and clinical instructor at MMC School of Nursing (1956-1957). In 1957, Rosa joined the Department of Surgery at MMC, headed by the late Matthew Walker, M.D.
In her career at G.W. Hubbard Hospital, her nursing specialties were surgery and oncology. Rosa was the first board certified enterostomal therapist in Nashville, having received her certificate in 1979 at the Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, NY. Rosa received the hospital’s Nurse of the Year award in 1988.
Rosa served as an adjunct faculty member at the Tennessee State University School of Nursing. She was an oncology nurse instructor in the department of surgery at Meharry Medical College. Earning the respect of the physicians for her expertise in oncology nursing and wound care, she was awarded honorary membership in the Matthew Walker Surgical Society. After 33 years of clinical and academic service, Rosa retired in June 1990.

In her biography published in Lifetimes of Dedication and Service: Meharry Medical College School of Nursing Graduates (2016), Rosa stated -- The department’s cancer training grant (NIH/National Cancer Institute) afforded me a world of exciting nursing experiences and educational opportunities. Over a period of 17 years, Rosa’s cancer nursing education and clinical experiences were obtained at the following institutions: West Tennessee Cancer Clinic, Memphis, TN; New York University’s joint program with Memorial Cancer Institute for Cancer and Allied Diseases (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center), New York City; Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, NY; and the Ontario Cancer Institute, Ontario, Canada. Of her experiences at MMC, Rosa indicated -- The components of the MMC Cancer Program were professional education, public education, and patient care. This multidisciplinary team approach integrated the basic sciences with clinical experiences in Hubbard Hospital’s cancer clinic, the ‘Tumor Clinic,’ and the Home Visitation Programs for medical, dental, dental hygiene students, and many nursing students. At that time, all surgical residents were required to rotate as assigned through the Tumor Clinic.

Rosa coordinated and conducted (with the Cancer Teaching Team of MMC) cancer education workshops at churches, public housing, schools (for students and the PTA), private homes, and even at the local movie theater (The Ritz) “for African American residents” of Nashville. The emphasis was early detection, early and adequate treatment, and building healthy attitudes and behaviors. In the public schools, the team was a resource to complement the health education and biology curricula.

In retirement, Rosa continued to serve the Nashville community as a member of the Board of Management of the Meharry National Alumni Association. Other professional memberships included the American Nurses Association (served on the Committee on Education and Practice) and the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society. Rosa’s role as a community advocate included board membership (state level) of the American Cancer Society’s Service and Nursing Education Committees; she was co-chair of the first Cancer Screening Program for senior citizens in Nashville. As a member of the advisory committee, she was a facilitator for the cancer support group, ‘Lean On Me,’ that was organized at Meharry/Hubbard Hospital. Rosa was a member of American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) -- Meharry Chapter,and was elected Tennessee delegate to the national convention (CA—1994). In service to this organization, she established the event “AARP Day on Capitol Hill” that promoted advocacy for Tennessee seniors. She was a Life Member of the NAACP, and a member of the Alpha Chi Chapter, Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc.

Rosa was active in civic and social organizations. She was a charter member of the Nashville Chapter of Pacesetters, Inc. (TSU Foundation Endowed Scholarship established after the organization disbanded), the TSU Alumni Association, and the Fifth Sunday Book Club. Rosa enjoyed playing bridge; she was a charter member of the Chatter Box Bridge Club, and the Thursday Girls’ Bridge Group.
Rosa’s Christian values and philosophy were reflected in these verses: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” … “Here am I the servant of the Lord…” (Luke 1:37-38 NRSV). Early in life, she was a member of Bethel AME Church. In 1987, she joined First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Wallace Charles Smith. Rosa served as chairperson of the Benevolence Ministry for more than 20 years. She was a member of the Healthcare Ministry, and an active member of the Helen Kincaide Circle.

Rosa Malone Mimms was a role model to all and a mentor to nurses, as she encouraged them to earn specialty certifications. Rosa departed this life on December 30, 2021, at her home. She was preceded in death by her husband, Claude Cornelius Mimms and her mother, Robbie Malone. She is survived by her daughter, Sandra Elaine Mimms; brother-in-law, Mozart A. Mimms, New Westminster, BC; cousin, Patricia Parks, Cincinnati, OH; and “grand-dog,” AbbieGael Mimms; extended family, Evelyn Nettles, Nashville, TN; the Arie and Michael Nettles family; the Francine and Darrell Lane family, Great Falls, VA; Grafton Whitlow, Jackson, TN; Kenneth & Beverly Scruggs, Paducah, KY; and many devoted friends.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rosa Malone Mimms, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Visits: 2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors