Olive Virginia Showalter, a longtime nurse in Wyandotte and dedicated churchgoer, died in her Wyandotte home on Tuesday. She was 93.
She was born Oct. 31, 1918, in Ayden, NC, to John Stokes and Lidia Elizabeth (Kittrell) Stokes. She was 6 years old when her mother died. After that, she was raised by neighbors, in the southern style, by the Harper family and later by the family of Thomas Heath. She grew up on tobacco farms and attended the Contentnea High School.
Olive loved to read and study. Her desire to become a nurse came true when she attended the Philadelphia General Hospital School of Nursing. Upon graduation in 1940, she and two of her nursing school friends were recruited and hired at the former Wyandotte General Hospital. At the time, the municipal hospital provided a nurse’s dorm for single nursing employees. Olive was promoted to head operating room nurse in 1965, a position she held until she retired in 1981.
Around the time her career began in 1940, she met Merton Showalter, a Wyandotte police officer. The two were married on June 19, 1942. They had three children–David Wilbur, Paul Merton and Martha Elizabeth. In addition to her children, Olive also is survived by two granddaughters–Lauren Marie Showalter and Emily Elizabeth (Showalter-Cassel) Moul. She was particularly proud that all of her children and grandchildren were college graduates, relatives say.
Olive was the sixth of seven children, with only her younger sister, Lucille Zory, 90, of New York, surviving her.
In 1983, Olive was selected as the Mellus-News Herald “Mother of the Year,” having been nominated by the Downriver Nurses Association.
She was very active in her church, . She held various leadership positions in the Wyandotte church and was active in many activities. She was a particularly fine seamstress, quilter, and southern style cook. She also loved to travel and enjoyed vacations with her daughter to many different locations, particularly to the beach home in Surf City, NC.
Her husband, Mert, died in 1969, but Olive was loved and cared for by her children and friends until the date of her passing. in Wyandotte is handling the arrangements. Visitation is set for 1 to 8 p.m. Friday. Final visitation is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. John United Church of Christ, with the funeral starting at 11 a.m. She will be buried at Ferndale Cemetery in Riverview.