Imogene “Jean” Kennedy Schmidt was born on October 13, 1918 in Mississippi. She graduated from Coldwater School in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and received her R.N. degree from the University of Tennessee in January of 1941. She entered the U.S. Army Nursing Corps later that year receiving basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
She was stationed in the Philippines on December 8, 1941 when Clark Air Force Base was attacked. On December 24, 1941, she and 77 other nurses were evacuated to Bataan. Under siege from Japanese forces, the nurses were conveyed to the island fortress of Corregidor and captured on May 6, 1942, becoming the first American women POWs. Jean was later confined at Santo Tomas Internment Camp where she was liberated by the First Cavalry on February 3, 1945. During her imprisonment, she met her husband whom she married on May 3, 1945. While serving in the Army Nurse Corps, Jean received many honors including the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
After the War, Jean settled in California with her husband Richard Schmidt. She continued nursing at Providence Hospital in Oakland, Mills Hospital in San Mateo, and La Vina Hospital in Altadena. She had been a La Canada Flintridge resident since 1963. She loved to read; enjoyed traveling, gardening, and being with her family. She volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, in hospitals, and at her church. Jean passed away at her home on March 3, 2007 at the age of 88 and is now buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA.
Source of information: www.findagrave.com