Kathleen M. Twigg, 87, founded nursing home

August 18, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Kathleen M. Twigg, whose longtime work as a nurse and later as the owner of a Manchester nursing home brought comfort to the ill and infirm, died Wednesday in the nursing home she had founded of complications from a fractured hip. She was 87.

Mrs. Twigg, who graduated in 1925 from the St. Agnes Hospital School of Nursing, was a registered nurse at St. Agnes Hospital, Sinai Hospital and a hospital in Hanover, Pa., before her first husband, Earl Wells, became ill in the early 1940s.

She nursed him at home until his death in 1946, when she decided to turn her 19th-century Main Street home into a nursing home.

Long View Nursing Home was the first in Carroll County when it opened that year with 12 patients. Today, the home has 109 patients.

In 1950, she married Newman Twigg, a practical nurse, who worked in the home with her until they sold the business in 1956 to Ralph and Martha Tarutis. Mr. Twigg died in 1986.

"She said her patients were like her children," said Mrs. Tarutis, who still operates the home.

"She had a wonderful regard for people, and that's how she ran her nursing home," said the Rev. Michael J. Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Manchester, where she was a communicant for more than 50 years.

"She had great reverence for the ill, and if a patient was dying who had no family, she'd cancel her plans and stay with that person and hold their hand so they would not die alone," he said.

Born Kathleen Gladhill in Harrisburg, Pa., the second oldest of 13 children, and raised in Emmitsburg, she decided as a child that she wanted to be a nurse.

"To take care of the aged has always been my ambition, and at the age of 5 years I made up my mind to be a nurse," she wrote in an unpublished memoir.

"The guiding light was my grandmother, who in my eyes was an angel of mercy to the community in which she lived. At all hours of the night there would come a knock at her door and she would get up, take her lantern and staff, -- for she suffered for many years with knee problems -- and her bottle of blackberry cordial and go out into the night."

Mrs. Twigg's brother Charles Gladhill of Elkridge said, "When we were kids growing up and playing, she always wanted us to be sick so she could play the nurse." He described her as a "tall and imposing woman who was somewhat stern but had a heart of gold."

Mrs. Twigg was active in the affairs of St. Bartholomew, where she was the church historian and oldest parishioner.

"Her knowledge of the Catholic community there was impressive," Father Roach said. "She could relate the names of parishioners from 50 years ago and where they sat. A broad-minded person, Mrs. Twigg gave to all of the local churches."

She was known for the quilts she made, which she donated to raise money for charities or gave to friends and relatives.

Janet Maurer, a friend for 30 years, who described her as a "sweet and outgoing," said: "She was a real fixture here in Manchester. She contributed to bazaars, and everyone knew and liked her chicken-corn soup."

Father Roach said that although Mrs. Twigg became deaf in recent years and learned to read lips, she "never lost interest in life" and remained an animated conversationalist.

Mrs. Twigg was a former president of the American Legion Ladies' Auxiliary and enjoyed traveling in Europe.

Private services are planned.

In addition to Mr. Gladhill, she is survived by two other brothers, Kenneth H. Gladhill of Parksburg, Tenn., and Lawrence D. Gladhill of Carlisle, Pa.; two sisters, Esther Peiper of Columbus, Ohio, and Lucille Kimmerup of Phoenix, Ariz.; and many nieces and nephews.

Pub Date: 8/18/96

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