Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Pauline R. Clegg; 1922-2013: War nurse taught at TPS, St. Vincent




Pauline R. Clegg, a Navy lieutenant and nurse who in civilian life taught prospective nurses proper patient care, died Sept. 5 in Sunset House. She was 91.

She had dementia, her husband, William, said.

Mrs. Clegg retired from the Toledo Public Schools after a decade teaching in the practical nursing program, which she eventually led.

For more than 20 years, she taught critical-care skills to student nurses at the St. Vincent School of Nursing.

“She was very firm, very strict, but very resourceful,” said Laura O’Donnell, a 1984 graduate who works in the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center cardiac catheterization lab.

“She taught you the right way. She let you know that there might be other ways, but you had to do it the right way,” Mrs. O’Donnell said. “She was pleasant. She cared about her students and the patients, and she expected a lot of us, and everyone knew that it was OK.”

Students were aware of Mrs. Clegg’s military experience, although she didn’t share many details. “It was a part of her,” Mrs. O’Donnell said. “You could see it in how she carried herself and how she spoke to people.”

Mrs. Clegg enlisted in the Navy in late 1944 after she graduated from the registered nurse program at the medical center in Pottstown, Pa. She was assigned to naval hospitals in Philadelphia and New Orleans and, after World War II, to naval hospitals in Guam and Japan. Mr. Clegg was in the Navy, assigned to a mine sweeper in Japan.

“When my ship had to go into dry dock for minor repairs, I went into the hospital for minor repairs,” he said. “I met her on her first day on duty.”

The couple married about two years later. Mr. Clegg finished his tour of duty and returned to his hometown, Toledo, while Mrs. Clegg remained in Japan. Her unit received a presidential-level commendation for expanding its capacity fivefold, to more than 500 beds, and then caring for battlefield casualties from the Korean War flown to the hospital.

“That was her hardest job,” Mr. Clegg said. “They worked hard every day, and they had a lot of casualties.”

Afterward, she served aboard a former troop transport that had been converted into a hospital ship to return wounded foreign troops to their homelands — from what is now Sri Lanka to Turkey, then The Netherlands and Germany before crossing the Atlantic to New York. She was assigned to the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., but was able to win a transfer to Newport, R.I., where her husband — recalled to duty during the war — was in officer candidate school. She was honorably discharged as a lieutenant.

In civilian life, Mr. Clegg resumed his career with Owens-Illinois Inc., where he’d been an engineer and, eventually held management and administrative positions before taking a faculty position at the University of Toledo. Mrs. Clegg worked toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania and, when Mr. Clegg was transferred to Toledo, at the former Mary Manse College, from which she received her degree.

She received a master of education degree in 1973 and an education specialist degree in 1981 from UT. Her son and daughter became medical doctors. “I’m sure she was delighted. She encouraged them along the way,” Mr. Clegg said.

The couple liked to play golf and duplicate bridge. In retirement, they toured Europe and U.S. national parks. She also volunteered at Mercy St. Vincent.

She was born May 17, 1922, in Philadelphia to Mary and Alex Uhorczuk. The family moved, and she graduated from high school in Schwenksville, Pa.

Surviving are her husband, William H. Clegg, whom she married Aug. 2, 1952; son Dr. William K. Clegg; daughter Dr. Kathleen A. Clegg; sister, Stella Uhorczuk; five grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Monday in the Blanchard-Strabler Funeral Home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Gesu Church.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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