My grandmother, Mary Raab, was an amazing woman and I loved her very much.
In 1922, when she was 18 years old, my grandmother, then Mary Ellman, moved to Winter Garden, Florida with her family. They later moved to Orlando to become founding members of Trinity Lutheran Church which was established in 1926.
Grandma was a very caring person and it was no surprise that she decided to become a nurse. She told me that her parents were not very happy with her decision because at that time it was uncommon for women to have careers, and nursing was a profession where she would be exposed to disease and partial nudity. However, they gave her their support and she decided to attend the nursing school at Orange General Hospital. She loved nursing school and was very happy when she graduated on June 10, 1925 and could care for patients at the hospital.
A graduation photo of her class is featured on page 42 of 75 Years of Caring and displayed in the hospital itself.
When my grandmother gave birth in 1938 to her first child, my mother, she did so in the same hospital. I was also born there in 1957, when it was known as Orange Memorial Hospital. My mother told me that she stayed in the same room in the maternity ward when I was born that my grandmother did with her.
When my grandmother was in her 80’s and admitted to the hospital where she had once cared for others, now Orlando Regional Medical Center, I would place her nursing graduation photo by her bedside and proudly tell the nurses and doctors her story.
WATCH Interview with Mary Raab’s granddaughter Kathy Boyle conducted by OCLS librarian Sharon Ricket on February 18, 2013.
Editors Note: According to information found on Mary Mathilda Ellman Raab, she was born on March 22, 1904 in Johnsburg, Somerset County, Pennsylvania and died on December 15, 1996 at the age of 92.
VISIT Mary Mathilda Ellman Raab’s gravesite at FindAGrave.com
MARY E. RAAB, 92, Stockbridge Avenue, Orlando, died Sunday, Dec. 15. Mrs. Raab was a registered nurse. Born in Johnsburg, Pa., she moved to Central Florida in 1922. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. Survivors: husband, Theodore ”Ted” R.; stepsons, Philipe B., Orlando, Jerald E., Roosevelt, Utah; daughters, Joanne Kimmell, Reston, Va., Marjorie Jernigan, Mobile, Ala.; stepdaughter, Mary E. Kessel, Lehigh Acres; sister, Clara Brandt, Orlando; eight grandchildren; several great-grandchildren.