Mary E. Gillespie Callahan

Died February 5, 2010, at age 82.

The shortage of nurses was so great, recalls Mary Callahan of her training days at Chelsea Memorial Hospital, "that the students were running the hospitals. The only Registered Nurses on the floor were supervisors. Everyone else was a student and we had 120 beds." 

The routine of classes and duty in the hospital was demanding, but she acknowledges she may never have been able to pursue a career in nursing without the incentives offered by the government.

Following graduation she worked at the Contagious Disease Hospital in Brighton dealing with patients with polio, cholera and yellow fever "and we had one whole unit full of iron lungs" at the height of the polio crisis.

Married in 1949, she and her husband Paul moved to Baltimore where she worked at the Sinai Hospital for three years before returning to Foxboro where they would raise their five children.

Mary left nursing in 1969 to devote her full attention to caring for Paul, who passed away in 1973. She then went back into the work force full time as nurse manager when the Foxboro Area Health Center opened on Mechanic Street, working there until 1989.

She looks back on a rewarding career and a fulfilled life, grateful for the program that helped make it possible and her opportunity to step forward when her nation called.

-adapted from The Foxboro Reporter, Thursday, November 12, 2009, p. 3 & 5

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Last Name in Nursing School: 
Gillespie Callahan
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Cadet Nurse
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Nursing School: 
Chelsea Memorial Hospital, Massachusetts
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Portrait of Mary Callahan
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