At Sagora Senior Living, one of the most fascinating parts of working with residents is hearing about their unique backgrounds and accomplishments. We are lucky to know residents who have helped shape history, creating new paths forward for those that followed.
Because this month is Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight some of the amazing women within our communities. These women have accomplished so much: witnessing historical events, contributing to America’s military efforts, or blazing paths forward in fields that were, at the time, primarily male.
Here are their stories:
Evelyn H. – The Brennity at Daphne Assisted Living & Memory Care
As a little girl, Evelyn used to make paper airplanes with her brothers, hurling them into the sky on their family farm. Little did she know that one day, she would work on machines far larger – rockets and space capsules.
At the time, aerospace was a male-dominated field. When Evelyn decided that she wanted to go into it, she was told it was “no place for a woman” by many of those around her. Yet she wouldn’t listen. She knew she could do it, and she wanted to work in a field that really interested her.
“I have a brain,” she thought. “I’d better use it.”
She was the only woman in her major. After graduating, she began working for the United States space program, where she was once again the only woman. Along the way, she assisted some of the first astronauts as they made history and tested the limits of what was humanly possible.
Despite being the only woman in her program, the astronauts saw her as an equal.
“I felt honored that they accepted me,” she said.
Evelyn remained in the field of aerospace for more than 40 years. In that time, she saw many women follow the path that she had blazed, and it gave her immense pride to know that she was the first one.
“Women have good brains too,” she said. “They need to be given chances!”
Trudy B – Landon Ridge Alamo Ranch Assisted Living & Memory Care
In 1942, the United States passed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, which allowed women to serve in the military alongside their men, marking a significant step toward gender equality.
Some two decades later, Trudy B. utilized the precedents set by that act to embark on a military career. She would serve in the newly formed United States Air Force, working as a flight nurse. After a 20-year career, she retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Her service allowed her to see sights that she overwise may not have been able to visit.
“I traveled a good portion of the world, and I enjoyed it very much,” Trudy said.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. His funeral was held three days later, and millions of Americans watched the event on their television sets, with hundreds of thousands more lining the streets to view the procession. More than 250,000 people would later pay their respects by viewing the casket, waiting for hours in a line that was said to have spanned 40 city blocks.
Trudy was there, viewing the funeral from a different angle. She was part of the team that was on hand to respond in case emergency assistance was needed, serving as a medical backup during the ceremony.
These experiences helped shape her into the woman that she is today. Now, she recommends that other females embark on a similar career path.
“You learn a lot of different things,” she said. “Have fun and learn what you can because you can make use of it after you retire.”
Marge A. – Elison Assisted Living of Bella Vita
Margaret “Marge” A. played an essential role in the United States’ war effort during World War II. Though combat roles were not available to females, she still set out to do her part to make sure America emerged victorious.
For two years, she served in the Coast Guard. Instead of being on a ship or at a Coast Guard Station, she got to do something that she loved – graphic design. Marge designed advertisements that went in magazines and billboards, carrying vital messages about the United States’ role in the conflict. In addition to this, she visited wounded servicemembers in hospitals, bringing them gifts and lending an ear to men who had been injured defending our freedoms.
Marge says she was happy to play a role in the war alongside her brothers and other members of her family.
Joan T – Elison Senior Living of Pinecrest
Like Marge and Trudy, Joan entered the military after it had been recently opened to women. Though she did not serve in a combat role, she still played a vital role in the Women’s Army Corps. She taught servicemembers how to swim, having been assigned the role of swimming instructor.
This was during the Korean War, where United States soldiers fought in harsh conditions. Many no doubt had to rely on the skills that Joan had taught them.
Joan used the G.I. Bill to go to college following her service and embarked on a successful career. She credits the lessons she learned in the Women’s Army Corps for setting the foundation for her success.
“Everyone needs to serve,” she said.
We are so proud to have these amazing women in our communities. With 61 communities in 12 different states, Sagora Senior Living offers seniors the chance to live in active, social communities where they can thrive on a daily basis.
To find out more, tour your local Sagora Senior Living community!