Sister Anna Hayward Duerksen, one of founders of Salem Deaconess Hospital in Salem, Oregon, 1957
This is a photograph of Sister Anna Hayward Duerksen, one of the founders of Salem Deaconess Hospital, the predecessor of Salem Memorial, in Salem, Oregon. She is seated in a rocking chair. The Mennonites came to Salem in 1916 and bought the form Capital Hotel on Winter Street for their hospital. That land has been in continuous use as a hospital site since then. Sister Anna was a graduate of Evangelical Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, and, with four others, made up the Board of Trustees. Mennonite deaconesses who served at the first hospital were women who pledged themselves to minister to the physically ill and spiritually needy. They hired a janitor and a 17-year-old cook and opened the 12-bed hospital in December 1916. They worked 20 hour days and received no salary until Social Security was begun in 1935. She lived in the hospital basement, cooked, cared for patients, did the housekeeping, and served as its only anesthetist. The building itself was three stories high, had no elevator, and the patients had to be carried up and down the winding staircase. Sister Anna was from a large Kansas family; she later married the hospital's gardener, and worked at the hospital into the 1950's. She died at the age of 86 in 1972. In 1957 she was recognized by the Oregon Nurses Association with a life membership for her long leadership in providing health care.
Duerksen, Anna Hayward; Salem Memorial Hospital; nurse; Salem, Oregon