An Enduring Spirit

An Enduring Spirit

Helen Reddick Andrews 30N treasured this photo of her classmates and instructors at Wesley Memorial Hospital.

Helen Reddick Andrews 30N, a former private duty nurse, died on May 6, 2010, at age 101. At the time of her death, she was the school’s oldest living alumna.

Andrews was 19 when she traveled by train from rural Sylvania, Georgia, to attend the Wesley Memorial Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1927. “I was not an A student,” she told the Emory nursing students who visited her Atlanta home in fall 2009. “It was very hard.”

Like her classmates, Andrews did not pay tuition and worked her way through nursing school. At the end of her first four months, she wore a white apron over her blue-striped uniform, signifying that she had passed probation. She began earning $5 a month and bought her first Baby Ruth candy bar. By the time she graduated, her monthly pay had doubled.

Nonetheless, Andrews never had to spend much. The nursing school provided meals for students and laundered their uniforms. She lived on a hospital ward, worked hard, studied faithfully, and didn’t date, earning the nickname “Miss Innocent.” During her last six months of training, Andews was one of the first students to live in the Florence Candler Harris Home for Nurses (now Harris Hall), which opened in 1929 next to what is now Emory University Hospital.

Helen Reddick Andrews 30NNursing students Mary Steimer 11N (left) and Ann Compton 10N 11MN visited with Andrews at her Atlanta Apartment in fall 2009.

After graduating, she served five years as a private duty nurse for Emory and then worked intermittently after marrying Rees Andrews 31B, who lived next door to her near campus, in 1935. When the couple visited Rees’s hometown of Plains, Georgia, they played bridge with Earl and Lillian Carter, who had a son named Jimmy. In 1977, the couple attended his inauguration as president. Years later, Andrews volunteered as a docent at the Carter Center.

Following Rees’s death in 2003, Andrews continued to live at St. Anne’s Terrace in Atlanta. When Anne Compton 10N 11MN and Mary Steimer 11N visited her there in 2009, Andrews offered some advice. “There’s always a need for nurses,” she told them. “It’s a wonderful profession.”

Andrews is survived by her daughter, Annabel Stadig; two sisters, including former U.S. Navy nurse Louise Reddick Hunt 34N; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.—Pam Auchmutey

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