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Nursing education pioneer remembered for her kindness and her interest in the Civil War

Postcard from Andersonville, Ga.
Postcard from Andersonville, Ga.

Several people responded to my post of myYork Sunday News column on Dr. Florence Gipe , a York County native who was a leader in modern nursing education.

June Snyder shared that upon graduating from Eastern York High School in 1960 she wanted to obtain a BSN degree in Nursing. That wasn’t yet possible in York County, and the University of Maryland wasn’t accepting out-of-state freshman nursing students. Dr. Gipe, who was then Dean of Nursing at the UMd School of Nursing, set up a program so that June could take her first two years of college at York Junior College and then finish at UMd.

Dr. Gipe kept an apartment near the school in Baltimore, but she returned to her home in Red Lion many weekends, and June often rode the bus with her. When York College initiated their School of Nursing in the 1970s, June served on the Advisory Board and also taught there in the 1990s.

Sue Nace and her family became close to Dr. Gipe when they moved to New Bridgeville in the early 1960s and started attending St. Luke Lutheran Church, Dr. Gipe’s lifelong church. Sue mentioned Dr. Gipe’s scholarly interest in the Civil War, and her family often accompanied her to battlefields and Civil War Roundtable meetings in Harrisburg, which predates York’s group.

Because of her interest in the Civil War, Dr. Gipe knew authors Carl Sandburg and Dr. Bell Wiley. Sue remembers receiving a letter from Dr. Wiley thanking her for the meal she made when Dr. Gipe had him visit at St. Luke.

Dr. Gipe spent her vacations pursing Civil War history. Her file at York County Heritage Trust has a couple of postcards from Civil War sites that she sent back to her brother in Red Lion. One reads: “Was in Atlanta and came here to Andersonville. Saw Uncle Jere Daugherty’s grave. Nice little head stone. See you soon. Florence.” I’ll have to do a little research to see who Uncle Jere was, in what unit he served and why he, sadly, ended at Andersonville.