Paulette R. Evans, 86, combat nurse in WWII

August 28, 2004|By Stephanie Desmon | Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

Paulette Rose Evans, who served as a combat nurse during World War II with the troops of Gen. George S. Patton through Africa, Italy and Germany, died of coronary heart disease Tuesday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. The Jarrettsville resident was 86.

The former Paulette Delpech, who was known as "Pat," was born in San Francisco, where her parents owned a grocery store and lived in an apartment behind it.

She graduated from St. Rose Academy there and attended San Francisco State for a year while waiting to turn 18 so she could begin nursing school. She trained to be a nurse at French Hospital and had been working as a registered nurse for a year when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

By September 1942, she had enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps, where she eventually earned the rank of first lieutenant. By December of that year, she had arrived in Africa during a bombardment.

"Planes were sending down bombs, and we were trying to find our beds," Mrs. Evans told a college student who interviewed her for a class in 1997.

As a member of a mobile hospital unit, she traveled throughout the war, taking care of wounded soldiers in tents. She worked 12-hour shifts and bathed with water from her helmet.

While in Italy, the devout Roman Catholic kissed the ring of Pope Pius XII.

Immediately after the war, she and other nurses spent time in Germany caring for prisoners of war who had been infected with typhus.

She married John Evans, a U.S. Army officer, in September 1945 in a military wedding in Germany, three months after they met.

"She was very proud of how she served in the war," said her daughter Lisa VanSant of Jarrettsville.

Mr. Evans served again in Germany in the 1950s. While living there, Mrs. Evans directed the American Youth Association Recreation Center for teens. The family came to Maryland in 1962 when Mr. Evans was stationed at Fort Holabird. They lived in Dundalk for many years.

Mrs. Evans was active at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church in Dundalk and worked at the former City Hospital. Mr. Evans died in 1981.

In recent years, Mrs. Evans enjoyed playing bingo and cards, and visiting friends.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, 7945 N. Boundary Road, Dundalk. Mrs. Evans will be buried Oct. 7 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by three other daughters, Sheri Deaver of Forest Hill, Stacia Evans of Dundalk and Patti Strewig of Woodbine; a son, Mike Evans of Jacksonville, Fla.; a sister, Jeannette Eggers of San Francisco; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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