Myrtle O. Gray
Section H. Lot 409
Myrtle O. Gray was a registered nurse who worked for many years in Indiana, often as a private-duty nurse. But, she is notable as a veteran of World War I, during which she served as an Army nurse. She was honorably discharged in June 1920.
Myrtle Olive Gray was born on December 30, 1878, in Pittsburgh. Her parents were Alexander and Mary Emma Wagoner Gray. She graduated from Indiana High School and the Indiana Normal School. Long interested in becoming a nurse, Gray enrolled in the Allegheny General Hospital School of Nursing. She graduated in 1904, and assisted in the hospital’s surgical amphitheater for three years. An avid traveler, Myrtle Gray and a fellow nurse ventured to Tucson, Arizona, where they took on private-duty jobs. She returned the Indiana where she worked at Indiana Hospital as a private-duty nurse.
When the United Stated entered World War I, Myrtle Gray enlisted in the US Army Nurse Corps. Following basic training at Camp Lee, Virginia, she was assigned to Walter Reed Medical Center. Gray was impressed with Walter Reed’s size and modern equipment. But, most memorable, she admitted in a 1977 Indiana Gazette interview, were the terrible injuries her patients had suffered. Her job was to “nurse the men over their physical handicaps and also to cheer them up.” Gray was one of several Army nurses honored at the White House. She spent 13 months at Walter Reed.
After returning to Indiana, she spent many years as a private-duty nurse. She worked well into her seventies, retiring reluctantly due to vision problems. Myrtle Gray died on May 18, 1977. She had been active in Calvary Presbyterian Church, Eastern Star, the Indiana Hospital Alumni Association, the Order of Amaranth and the American Legion Post 141.