Marceil Kelly, a patient of Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton, spent 50 years as a nurse enhancing the lives of the lives the patients she served in the operating room and the Employee Health Department of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.
The Nursing Honor Guard of Ohio’s Hospice recognized her on April 24 with its Nursing Honor Guard Tribute, which honors nurses who are in hospice care with Ohio’s Hospice. Dressed in traditional and historical uniforms comprised of a blue and red cape, white dress and cap, the Nursing Honor Guard recognizes nurses for their commitment to caring and providing compassion to patients. The ceremony highlights a nurse’s career and individual achievements. It also includes the recitation of the Nightingale Pledge, a statement of the ethics and principles of the nursing profession.
“We want to formally acknowledge your many years of service as a nurse and to note that your accomplishments are measured in the lives you affected through dedication and perseverance,” said Nursing Honor Guard member Kathy Emerson, LPN, CHPLN. “Thank you, Marceil, for your legacy of caring and for all you have given to the nursing profession.”
Kelly, 90, began attending nursing school at Good Samaritan School of Nursing in 1946, living in the dorms at the hospital during her three years of training. Good Samaritan became a second home to her. After graduating in 1949, she began her career in the operating room at Good Samaritan Hospital.
She spent 20 years assisting in all kinds of surgery from major to minor. She recalled how hot it was in the operating room in the 1950s when there was no air conditioning. “It was hot in the summer,” she said. “There was someone who would wipe the sweat off your brow.”
Kelly met her husband, Joe Kelly, after nursing school. It was love at first sight, and they married after three months of meeting each other. They were married for 48 years when Joe died in 1999.
She had all five of her children — Joan, Ann, Patti, Bill and Peggy — at Good Samaritan Hospital. Kelly continued to work part time throughout their childhood. Her children remember Kelly making crafts together. She also sewed and knitted outfits for her daughters’ dolls. She volunteered at their school and was active in her church.
“She enjoyed being with us,” daughter Patti Berbach said. “She always was about doing things for us and others.”
One of her daughters, Joan, died at 34 from liver cancer. “She experienced pain in May and was gone in October,” said Kelly, who has 11 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. “Those were dark days. That was a very difficult time for our family.”
Even though Kelly was grieving for her daughter, she found joy in her work at Good Samaritan Hospital in the Employee Health Department. “I initiated and started the Employee Health Department with another nurse,” Kelly said. “I enjoyed taking care of the nurses when they had accidents such as needle sticks or needed pre-employment physicals.”
Kelly remains active at St. Leonard, the retirement community in Centerville, where she lives. “I can’t resist a card game,” said Kelly who plays pinochle, bridge and euchre. “I also enjoy knitting, solving crossword puzzles and working on puzzles.”
At the end of the ceremony, Nursing Honor Guard member Kristy Brock, RN, CHPN, presented Kelly with a Florence Nightingale lantern and pin. “Though your nursing tasks are complete, they are not forgotten,” Brock said. “It is our honor to express our respect for you as a nurse and our gratitude for the care you have given.”
Honored to be recognized, Kelly appreciated the special ceremony. “I loved the ceremony,” she said. “I was shocked that they honored me. But I was very touched.”