During the Month of April of our 110th year, we continue our Healthcare Heroes through History blog post series with the 1940s. 

By the mid-1940s, the visiting nurses continued to be praised by the local paper, the Rochester Courier. According to an article on June 13, 1946, “In recognition of faithful service and keeping in line with the general increases of salaries of school teachers, City officials and workmen, the Rochester Visiting Nurse Association at its monthly meeting on Tuesday voted to give their two public health nurses an increase of $50 each for the ensuing year, and a bonus of $50 each for the year just closed.”  

Mrs. Celia Young and Violet Bliskey, who were VNA nurses in the 1930s, continued their work into the 1940s. When Celia Young* left in 1944 to bravely serve overseas with the Army Nurses’ Corps, Mrs. Evelyn Nelson joined Violet as one of the city’s public health nurses. 

Despite their efforts and good work, most community members were still unaware of the Rochester VNA and services provided to patients and the community. To help raise awareness, the VNA created a pamphlet to be handed out to every patient leaving Frisbie Memorial Hospital. The pamphlet read “The Visiting Nurse is ready to help you when you are sick no matter where you live in Rochester or what your financial situation. The Visiting Nurse can give you all the care you need if you do not require a nurse all day, and can assist you as your doctor instructs.” 

This Rochester Courier Article from March 18, 1948, goes into further details about the care provided, and ends with, “There are a thousand and one other little services with the District Nurses perform which are not listed under scheduled duties. There is their cheerfulness, the confidence one feels in their brisk, deft manner, and the knowledge that this professional care is available anytime you need it at an extremely nominal cost.” 

On January 20, 1949, the Rochester Courier included their annual review of the VNA as it entered its 36th year. “That the demands on its service continue to increase year after year is indication enough that it fills a very distinct need to the community, but this might not be the case were it not for the quality of the two visiting nurses it employs. Mrs. Violet Bliskey and Mrs. Evelyn Nelson give more than professional services to their patients. Time and time again we have heard it said of them, and particularly of Mrs. Bliskey: ‘I felt better just from seeing her and hearing her laugh.’ How true it is that a cheery voice often serves where medicines fail. Rochester is fortunate in its choice of Visiting Nurses.” 

*Reference source: Lt. Celia Young, former public health nurse, who has been serving overseas with the Army Nurses’ Corps since 1944, returned to the country (Rochester Courier, January 24, 1946) In 1948, Rochester VNA founder, Mrs. Norma Snow, passed away following an emergency operation and the City mourned the loss of this “Grand Old Lady”. 

In the words of a Rochester Courier writer at the time of her death, “Mrs. Leslie P. Snow whose death occurred Monday in her 85th year, was one of the most truly remarkable women this writer has ever known. In her were combined with the usual womanly virtues, an usual business acumen, an almost Puritan sense of honesty, strong convictions which she was never at loss to defend, and a tremendous energy. Despite her advanced years, Norma Snow maintained a schedule of activity up until the time of her death that would have appeared impossible to many men and most women half her age. And certainly no woman and few men in many years have left so deep an imprint of their personalities on the City of Rochester.  

To most people Parson Main, whose likeness in stone occupies Central Square, is ‘Mr. Rochester’ the Symbol of the strength and the great traditions of the city. Probably no woman in the history of the city is so deserving of the place as his feminine counterpart.” 

Her obituary lists her involvement in many social and charitable activities: Mrs. Snow was active in all organizations of the First Church Congregational, was treasurer and president of the Ladies’ Aid Society, served as regent of the local chapter and NH state secretary of the DAR, was president of the Rochester Woman’s Club and secretary of the NH Federation of Women’s Clubs, member of the Rochester School Board, chairman of the board at the Gafney Home for the Aged, president of the Monday Club, was on the executive board of  Rochester’s American Red Cross chapter and chairman of their Home Nursing Service. The obituary also reads, “Mrs. Snow was credited with organizing the Rochester Visiting Nurse Association in 1913, while serving as president of the Rochester Woman’s Club. She named the committees to secure the services of a public health nurse and when the Association was organized she was named president and held that office for many years. She was still connected with the Association, in which she took an active part at the time of her death.”