Cumberland Times-News

Local News

September 24, 2011

Sacred Heart nurses reminisce at reunion

Alumni association holds what could be its final gathering

CUMBERLAND — Ora Mae Lewis can still remember most of the faces of fellow nurses in the Sacred Heart Hospital Alumni Association, though she graduated from the program more than 70 years ago.

“It was a long time ago,” said Lewis, 92, who was one of two members of the Class of 1940 who attended a homecoming luncheon Saturday afternoon.

Other attendees graduated from Sacred Heart’s nursing school through 1959, when it closed.

“We were all young,” Lewis said. “Some people have changed so much I can’t recognize them. People say I look the same as I did when they knew me way back. I’m just fortunate to have good skin.”

About 70 alumni association members attended Saturday’s luncheon and program, which was billed as the group’s last homecoming. Active for more than 50 years, the association is reorganizing, said Joyce Andrews, president.

“This was a very close bond,” said Andrews, one of 12 members of the Class of 1956. “We had such a close relationship.”

Started in the 1920s and run by nuns, the Sacred Heart nursing school was a three-year program, including summers. Students lived together in a dormitory on the hospital campus, and graduates were certified as registered nurses.

“We all remember different experiences, times and places of our years at the school,” Andrews said as she welcomed the group Saturday.

“We remember the dormitory on Decatur Street. We remember the house mothers — some strict, others not so much. We remember supervisors and head nurses. We remember the compulsory study hall every night from 7 to 9 p.m. But mostly we remember the sisters with their three-foot wide coronets.”

Class of 1940 member Mary Stutzman, like most Sacred Heart students, was 18 when she started nursing school. She worked as a nurse at Sacred Heart until retiring in 1985 — when she started working as a volunteer at the hospital.

“I loved it,” said Stutzman, 92. “Still do. I have great admiration for nurses, but I don’t think that they have quite as much nurse/patient relationship as we did because people don’t stay in the hospital very long.”

Lewis, who worked in hospitals and the with American Heart Association, owned a downtown Cumberland business for 20 years after retiring from nursing.

“I had a long career, honey,” she said. “I started out in the operating room in Washington, D.C., moved to the operating room in Baltimore during World War II, then I came back to Cumberland, supervising a med-surg.”

Saturday’s luncheon, which included a musical performance by the barbershop quartet, Tonic Boom, took place at new Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Sister Ceceila Rose gave the invocation and benediction.

“It’s a great joy to be here and be among you,” Rose said. “Some of you I remember so well, from your faces in particular, more than your names, but that doesn’t matter. We recognize each other.”

The alumni association is hopeful it will be able to continue offering reunions when its reorganization is complete.

“The homecoming is very dear to all of us,” Lewis said. “It brings us all together and brings the girls from out of town that we haven’t seen for years and years. It keeps us cohesive as a group.”

Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at

Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing