The Normandy Senior Living: A Very Special Nurse’s Story

Arlene Watts, RN, Chaplain Willie Springer and Dr. James Banks.

Arlene Watts, RN, 93, is a very special lady with a very special story.

She was honored two weeks ago by Pathways Hospice and the Crile Museum at Tri-C West for her work as a nurse during the years of World War II.

As a young nursing student at Fairview Hospital, Arlene worked with wounded soldiers of that era at the Crile General Hospital, which originally occupied the property of Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus in Parma.

Tri-C West opened in 1966, but the timeless work of the Crile Hospital has been preserved within the Tri-C Archive Center there, administered by Vietnam veteran Dr. James Banks.

Dr. Banks learned of Arlene Watts and her history with the Crile Hospital through Pathways Hospice.

“We contacted him to come out and interview her,” said Norma Kleem, MSW, LSW, Social Worker in the Pathways “We Honor Veterans” program.

“She shared a lot of really interesting stories about the time she was there,” said Kleem. “She had a photo album and also her nursing uniform. She donated both to the archives.”

“We Honor Veterans” is a special program that Pathways Hospice holds dear.

“Mostly, we want to say how we still salute veterans through our ‘We Honor Veterans’ program that is so well deserved,” said Willie Springer, Chaplain/Veteran Liaison/Bereavement Coordinator for Pathways. “We are walking the last journey with them as far as hospice is concerns. As we always say, we want to give these people the flowers while they are still with us, and we want to hear their stories before they take them.”

“Her stories and memories of Crile are very close to her heart. They made her the nurse she became for the rest of her life because she carried those experiences with her,” added Kleem.

Thank you, Arlene Watts! We salute you!

The Crile Archives

The Crile Archives, named in honor of George Washington Crile, is located on Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus. The Western Campus opened to students in 1966, and began teaching classes in the repurposed barracks of the Crile General Hospital, which originally occupied the property. The Crile Archives strives to continue the rich histories of both Dr. G.W. Crile and Crile General Hospital of learning during and after war. Contact Dr. James Banks Director- Crile Archives, 216-987-5594, James.banks@tri-c.edu.

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