Title: Navy Lieutenant, Nurse Corps, World War II, Korean War
Birthdate: May 8, 1908
Death Date: March 19, 1976
Plot Location: Naval 4, Row 15, Grave 8
Home for the George family in the early 1900s was New Castle, Pennsylvania, close to the Ohio border near Youngstown. It was a one-industry town, and Evelyn’s father worked at the largest tin mill in the world. She was the fourth child and third daughter of parents who divorced after the children left home.
The local mills were where her sisters later worked, but Evelyn had her mind set on healthcare. That may have stemmed from her having a “serious operation” at age 15, according to a newspaper column. New Castle was home to the Jameson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, and that’s where Evelyn graduated in 1930.
What came next on her resume is unknown until she joined the United States Navy Nurse Corps on April 21, 1943. These nurses received training and experience well beyond the normal duties of a civilian nurse. They had responsibility in areas such as anesthesia, surgery, orthopedics, physiotherapy, and even dealing with “shellshock,” known today as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Nurses also became teachers, having to train men to be “Hospital Corpsmen” on fighting ships and invasion beaches where women could not go. They also trained WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) for subordinate hospital duty.
Evelyn’s service record is a mystery other than being promoted to Lieutenant on April 1, 1946. She remained in the service until May 17, 1952, which would have qualified her as a Korean War veteran as well. After that, her career path goes dark. She never married, and may have been employed at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital for the next two decades. Her death certificate indicates she spent her last days at the Naval Home there. A request for a military headstone was filed by the commanding officer of the home just weeks after her death in 1976. Later that year the home was moved to a larger facility in Gulfport, Mississippi.
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