Cover photo for Lois Needham's Obituary
Lois Needham Profile Photo
1947 Lois 2022

Lois Needham

April 20, 1947 — May 2, 2022

Lois Ann (Dolan) Needham was born in Buffalo, the oldest child of Tom and Ruth Dolan. She graduated high school from Sacred Heart Academy and received a degree in nursing from D’Youville College. After working as a nurse in New York City, Lois moved to Syracuse and began working at the St. Joseph’s College of Nursing. Lois taught at the College of Nursing for over forty years, earning her Master’s Degree in Education from Syracuse University along the way. During her career, Lois started the Weekend Program at the College of Nursing, allowing students to complete their education on weekends so they could continue to maintain other employment. She managed the Weekend Program for more than 10 years, retiring as the assistant dean. As an educator, Lois was famous for her lively lectures, songs and the various hats she would wear during her class to help teach. She could rarely go to a doctor’s office or hospital without encountering a former student who would recall one of her famous lectures or songs. She strongly preferred being called “Mrs. Needham,” which she made clear to her students and her children’s spouses. In 2011, Lois received the “Nursing Education Award” from St. Joseph’s Hospital, an honor given to those who “teach nursing practice excellence” and “use knowledge to motivate and inspire others.”

Lois enjoyed Broadway shows, CNN, Hallmark movies and long obituaries, which she would often cut out and send to her children by mail to read. She made the world’s best macaroni salad. Lois loved celebrating all holidays. She decorated every room from floor to ceiling at Christmas and kept her Christmas trees up until mid-January. On St. Patrick’s Day, she would buy more than 70 loaves of Irish Soda bread for her family and friends and would make the best corned beef and cabbage. In August, she decorated everything in her house with sunflowers. She loved to laugh with her siblings, especially during her family’s Christmas celebration and their annual weekend together during the New York State Fair. Lois had a zest for life and a special sparkle, which she attributed to being Irish.

Later in life, Lois developed a new hobby of attending criminal trials, analyzing the evidence and lawyers’ performances (and attire) with the same rigor that she had every day as a teacher and mother.

Lois was predeceased by her parents, Tom and Ruth Dolan; brother, Tommy Dolan; and cousin, Mary Margaret, with whom she was especially close.

She is survived by her siblings, Susie (Michael) Ott, Peter (Mary Beth) Dolan, and Greg (Laura) Dolan; and sister-in-law, Judy Dolan. Lois was selflessly devoted to her loving children, Elizabeth (Scott) Donaldson, Meg (Tim) Johnson, and Doug (Sarah) Needham. She believed in being “neat, clean and well- groomed” and expected her children to always be the same way. She especially hated wrinkled clothing and when men wore hats indoors.

Lois was especially devoted to her grandchildren, Jack, Simon and Chelsea Donaldson, Connor and Truman Johnson, and Abigail and Owen Needham. She instilled in them her love of holidays and festive spirit.

She is additionally survived by several Dolan cousins; numerous nieces and nephews that she was very close to; and many good friends, including Joan Zallnick and Gayle Bero, with whom she enjoyed many laughs and travels.

Relatives and friends may call on Thursday, May 5 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Buranich Funeral Home, 5431 W. Genesee St., Camillus.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, May 6 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 5600 W. Genesee St., Camillus. Please consider wearing something green or a shamrock to celebrate Lois Ann’s love of St. Patrick’s Day.

Lois Ann loved flowers. Contributions may also be made to the Mrs. Lois Needham Scholarship, c/o Mary Ann Wafer, St. Joseph’s College of Nursing, 206 Prospect Ave., Syracuse, NY 13203.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lois Needham, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, May 5, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Friday, May 6, 2022

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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