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Susie Bourke in nurse's uniform

Washington State Library
  • Nurses
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"Susie" Bourke in a Tacoma General Hospital uniform, circa 1918. Although Susie never realized her dream of becoming a professional nurse, she had a lifelong interest in serving others. While still in her teens, she worked as an upstairs girls for the three-story Roslyn Cle Elum Beneficial Hospital and later enrolled in the Tacoma General Hospital nursing program. Susie dropped out of nursing school under pressure from her father who disapproved of her career ambitions. Her blossoming romance with Peter Bourke was another factor in that decision and the two were married in 1919. In later years she served with the Red Cross, volunteered for March of Dimes campaigns and was an active member of her church. Her life of service was honored by the Cle Elum Church of the Nazarene in 1978 who set aside the 12th of February as Susie Bourke Day to honor her 55 years of unselfish giving (NKC Tribune 16 Feb. 1978). Rain or shine, she had made the rounds every Sunday morning in her Model A picking up children for Sunday School. It became a year round tradition to sing “Jingle Bells” as they drove to church, substituting “Susie’s Model A” for “one horse open sleigh.” Susie also sang for weddings, funerals, church programs as well as March of Dimes campaigns where her performances helped make “the cash register jingle with many dollars" (16 Feb. 1978).

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