102-Year-Old Alumni Shares Memories of Methodist College

102-Year-Old Alumni Shares Memories of Methodist College

Methodist College faculty with alumni, Lois Stetzler, and family.  
Top Row (L to R): Dr. Amer Qatanani, Dr. Theresa Schwindenhammer, Dr. Blanca Miller, Shelley Riney 
Bottom Row (L to R): Sandra Burrier, Lois Stetzler, Ranell Burrier

What was Methodist College like in the 1940’s? 102-year-old alumni, Lois Stetzler, remembers!

Faculty and staff from Methodist College recently presented 102-year-old, Lois Stetzler, with an honorary Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and Alumni Appreciation Award. We are pleased to recognize her dedication to caring for others over the years. Lois graduated from the Methodist Hospital School of Nursing in 1941, and shared her memories with our team over 80 years later.

Lois grew up on a farm in Farmington, Illinois and graduated high school in 1938. Her older sister was a nurse, and right after high school, Lois chose to follow in her footsteps. In the midst of World War II, she became a nursing student at Methodist School of Nursing in Peoria, Illinois.

At this time, the school was only for women, and students were not allowed to be married. As you can imagine, the school looked very different!

 Methodist Hospital Building in 1941

 Study Group and Students Relaxing in 1941

Lois remembers spending two months in Bartonville, Illinois, for her training and traveling with nurses around the city of Peoria, especially across the south end of town. For the majority of her time as a student, she lived in a dormitory with other women who became her lifelong friends.

 Methodist Hospital School of Nursing Class of 1941
(Lois is featured in the third row!)

Lois met her future husband through mutual friends two days before he left with the Army. They went out dancing together even though she’d said “no way” to dating a serviceman “since they’d just be leaving anyways.”

Fast forward, and they were married shortly after Lois graduated from Methodist College. Following graduation, Lois and her husband traveled to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Lois worked as a nurse in a small rural hospital, “doing a little bit of everything.”

In late 1944, Lois became pregnant with her first child, and her family moved back to Morton, Illinois. Lois used her nursing expertise to care for her four children and large family. Lois’s husband had seven siblings, and Lois remembers the whole family coming to her with questions, concerns, and for care.

 Lois Stetzler and Family
(L to R): Lois' Daughter, Sandra Burrier, Lois' Granddaughter, Ranell Burrier, and Lois Stetzler

Later in life, Lois used her nursing education to volunteer with the Red Cross. She spent many years organizing blood mobiles in our community. Lois also stayed involved with Methodist College and enjoyed attending alumni banquets with friends.

Methodist College has come a long way since Lois graduated in 1941, and we are excited to see what’s next in the field of nursing. Learn more about programs at Methodist College.

Browse the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub to browse additional photos from the History of Methodist College Collection.