Sunday, August 11, 2013

Military Monday - Remembering a Female WWI Veteran

I saw this obituary as I was looking through microfilm.  Upon glancing at it I decided to print off a copy because it was for a World War I veteran and that veteran was 95 years old.  I didn't really read the obituary...until last night.  That's when I noticed that this WWI veteran was a woman!

Standard Speaker, 22SEP1986, pg2
"Mrs. William C. Beltz
World War I veteran

Mrs. Elsie L. Beltz, RN, age 95, formerly of Freeland, who resided the past six years with her niece, Mrs. Ruth (Boyle) Priestley of Grand Blanc, Mich., died early Sunday morning at the McLaren Hospital, Flint, Mich.

Born in Quakake, she was the daughter of the late Peter J. and Mary (Eveland) Shoemaker.

She was a resident of Freeland for 85 years before moving to Michigan.

She graduated from the Pottsville Hospital Training School of Nursing, in 1914, and prior to her retirement, she was employed by the Hazleton State General Hospital.

She was an Army veteran of World War I, and served with the Army Nurse Corp.

She was a member of St. Luke's Evangelical Church, Freeland; the Hazleton Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, the American Legion Post No. 473, Freeland, and the Lady Jeremiah Rebekah Lodge No. 93.

Preceding her in death was her husband, William C. Beltz, who died in 1965.

Surviving are three step sons, William, John and Wilbur Beltz, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. from the Cotterall Funeral Home, Freeland, with the Rev. Richard H. Summy, officiating.  Interment will be in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, Tamaqua.

Relatives and friends will be received by the family on Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Memorial donations to St. Luke's Evangelical Church, Freeland, will be appreciated."

Elsie was born on June 21, 1891.  She enlisted in the military on January 16, 1918 and was discharged on November 5, 1919.  She passed away on September 21, 1986 (US Department of Veteran Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010). Elsie didn't marry until she was about 35 years old and guessing from this obituary she and William had no biological children together.

Women served during WWI, especially in the Army Nurse Corp.  The influenza pandemic that hit during the time created a desperate need for nurses everywhere, and many were funneled into the military.  It's good to see this veteran remembered.  Thank you for your service, Elsie.

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