homepage logo


Celebrating 60 years

By Staff | Jun 1, 2010

Some of the members recently in attendance at a UHD Auxiliary meeting were (left to right): Lucille Gerberding, Dottie Lawson, Joan Goeke, Beverly Rosenberg, Darlene Mair, Nadine Wickersham-Krull and Fran Beckendorf. After 60 years, the volunteer group continues to provide support to the hospital district and to those utilizing its services.

On July 20, 1950, Mrs. Dora McKee, Superintendent of Nurses, called a meeting of all women who were interested in forming a Hospital Auxiliary for Blue Earth’s new Community Memorial Hospital.

McKee explained the need and the purpose of the auxiliary as “an organization of volunteer women banded together with a common goal of offering services to the community and the hospital serving it.”Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Rollo Dean was elected the first president. The other slate of officers included: first vice president, Mrs. Harold Teskey; second vice president, Mrs. Joe Gunderson; recording secretary, Mrs. Joe Sullivan; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Donald Mundale; treasurer, Mrs. Lee Pemberton and Mrs. W.A. Demo as parliamentarian.

The By-Laws of the auxiliary were then drawn-up and signed on Aug. 25, 1950 by Mrs. R.F. (Helen) Dean, president of the women’s auxiliary and Mrs. J.E. (Alma) Sullivan, acting secretary.

Women were sought to help support this organization by either becoming an inactive member who paid $1.00 dues annually, or one who shared her talents to help make it a better organization. Some of the activities which the auxilians first participated in were sewing drapes, green surgical wrappers, towels, making toys for pediatric patients and stamping linens.

Sewing, in fact, was the number one skill sought in 1950. It was the auxilians who made all of the draperies for the 36-room Community Memorial Hospital when it opened its doors to its first patient on Sept. 21,1950.

Now, almost 60 years later, the auxiliary is still active and fulfilling the goals McKee outlined.

Granted, there have been a few changes through the years at the hospital. These have included everything from remodels and expansions to even name changes.

Renaming the hospital came about because a better and larger facility was needed in the 1960s. Therefore, the United Hospital District was established in January 1967. It included Blue Earth, Winnebago, Elmore, Frost and the eight townships: Blue Earth, Elmore, Emerald, Jo Daviess, Pilot Grove, Prescott and Winnebago.

With the hospital’s continuing expansion in the early years, the Auxiliary also grew.

When it was begun on Oct. 20, 1950, the hospital auxiliary boasted 246 members with an average of 65 members present at the meetings. By 1966-1967, there were 398 total memberships in the auxiliary representing 14 different area churches.

Some events, which were once staples and very successful fund-raisers for the auxiliary, have been abandoned through the years. The Silver Tea, Mother Hubbard Day and the scholarship program are but a few who have met their demise.

Mother Hubbard Day was, in essence, a food shower for the hospital. Food was donated for the hospital’s use by area church ladies aids. The first Mother Hubbard Day was held on Oct. 19, 1951 and netted $1,000 in food products for the hospital food shelves.

To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.