Obit of the Day: NASA’s First Nurse
Rose Church knew an opportunity when she saw one. An employee of McDonnell-Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri, Mrs. Church had heard that the company was hiring an “aerospace physician” and when given a opportunity to speak with company president James McDonnell, she told him “Where there’s a doctor, there’s always a nurse.”
After that conversation there was.
Mrs. Church would serve as the nurse to the Mercury and Gemini astronauts including John Glenn, Alan Shepherd, and Gus Grissom. (She would even bring astronauts their favorite training snack, whether it’s a donut or a beer.)
When McDonnell-Douglas did not receive the contract to build the vehicles for the Apollo missions, Mrs. Church retired.
NASA’s first nurse passed away at the age of 90.
You can find interviews with her here
Random note: Mrs. Church was a guest of NASA for the final space shuttle launch (STS-135, Atlantis) on July 8, 2011. She talks about her excitement here.
Sources: Stltoday.com and The Aero Experience
(Image of Mrs. Church speaking with an unidentified astronaut is copyright McDonnell-Douglas and courtesy of StLToday.com)