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Oberst Mary Josephine

Mary Josephine Oberst
Second Lieutenant
Serial Number:
United States Army Nurse Corps
Date of Death:
Mater Dolorosa Cemetery, Owensboro, Kentucky

Mary Josephine Oberst was born on December 15, 1913. She was the daughter of John L. Oberst and Emma C. Oberst. She graduated from St. Frances Academy, Owensboro, in June 1932 and received her RN from St. Joseph Infirmary, Louisville, in 1936 and remained there in the medical surgical ward and operation room until she entered the Army Nurse Corps in November 1937. Her first assignment was Maxwell Field, Ala., then overseas duty took her to Fort William McKinley, Philippines, on July 10, 1941. On Dec. 13, 1941, she was stationed at Sternberg General. As war was carried on the nurses were moved to various places, Estada Major, and on Dec. 25, 1941, to Bataan Hospital No. 2. Mary was one of the "Angels of Bataan and Corregidor the US Army and Navy Nurse Corps women who served in the Battle of the Philippines in 1941-42. When Bataan and Corregidor fell, 11 Navy nurses, 66 army nurses, and 1 nurse-anesthetist were captured and imprisoned in and around Manila. They continued to serve as nurses in various POW camps until they were finally liberated in February 1945.

On return to the States on Feb. 24, 1945, she was a patient at Letterman General, San Francisco. Later, nursing duties took her to Nichols in Louisville, Fort Knox, Ashford General, W.Va., and back to Fort Knox. After retirement from the Army on Sept. 30, 1947, she worked at Mercy Hospital in Owensboro. In September 1950, she attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and received degrees of BSN in 1953, and MSN in 1955, and then became assistant director of nurses at St. Mary Hospital School of Nursing in Evansville. Ill health made retirement necessary in 1963.

After retirement from nursing, Miss Oberst underwent many surgeries and in 1993 suffered a stroke which necessitated her going to a nursing home. She belonged to many Right-To-Life organizations as well as veteran and POW organizations. Mary Josephine died on November 13, 2009 in Lincolnshire, Kentucky and is now buried in the Mater Dolorosa Cemetery, Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky, USA withe the rank of Captain on her headstone.

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