The End of an Era: Rachel Louetta Skiles Davinich

Rachel Louetta Skiles Davinich

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today, January 9, 2014, would have been my mom’s 93rd birthday. We lost Mom to a stroke in October of 2013, so she didn’t quite make it to 93.

Mom was a member of the Greatest Generation, and our country is the richer for having had her and all of her generation and all they did.

Mom was born in Parkesburg, PA, and lived in Pennsylvania until her family moved to Maryland when she was a young teen. Unusually, for a woman of her generation, after high school graduation she went on to earn a degree in nursing from the University of Maryland.

The attack on Pearl Harbor came when she was taking her final classes for her degree. She and her classmates volunteered for military service, and served in the U.S. Army’s 42nd General Hospital.

 University of Maryland 1942 Nursing School Graduating Class aboard the USS West Point.

Her graduation photo was actually taken on the USS West Point (a naval troop transport ship)! Mom is in the first row, second from the left.

In WWII she was stationed in New Zealand, the Philippine Islands and Australia, and for a short time on a troop ship taking care of the injured as they were transported to the United States. Near the end of the war she served in an Army hospital in the United States. She resigned her commission after WWII upon marrying a handsome young naval officer she had met in Australia–my dad.

Mom raised five children, of which I was her “caboose child.” I’m sure at times she would have gladly fled back to active service to get some relative peace and quiet, with as rowdy a bunch as we were …

She taught me so much, and I was blessed as an adult to have wonderful regular conversations with her right up until her death.

I was looking through some old photos of Mom today, and found one of my favorites, from when she was stationed in Brisbane, Australia:

 Rachel Skiles WWII Brisbane Australia

Makes me smile.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope it’s been a great day!

This entry was posted in Village Life and tagged , by JAS. Bookmark the permalink.

About JAS

Personal trivia, in no particular order: 1. I love cherry jam. Not that sickly sweet insipid jellied syrup that masquerades as jam, but the stuff that's 99% tart cherries you picked off your own trees and simmered to perfection with just a tad of sugar and pectin. 2. I am a mouse magnet. Not to any particular mouse, mind you - just to field mice in general. Just lucky, I guess. 3. I firmly believe that specialization is for insects. Thank you for understanding, Mr. Heinlein. 4. Forty pounds of custom-made velvet finery worn on a 97F afternoon worn whilst riding aside on a fine horse beats a sauna hands down every time for weight loss and dehydration. 5. Once upon a time I was a romantic. Life took care of that.