Remembering Alice Reynolds ’60, professor of nursing emeriti, nurse-midwife, WWII army nurse

Alice Reynolds ‘60, professor emerita of nursing who retired from Syracuse University in 1984, died at age 90 on April 21, 2010 in  Syracuse. A memorial service was held on November 5, 2010 at Holy Cross Church in Dewitt. A valued member of many constituencies and an  integral part of the Syracuse University Nurses Alumni Association, Reynolds will be greatly missed.

Born in Ossining, N.Y., she was sent at age sixteen to complete her secondary education in Liverpool, England. She began nursing school at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary and ultimately completed her program there since England entered into World Ward II and she was unable to return home. Upon completion of her nursing program, she joined the U.S. Army Nursing Corps in London.

She was assigned to the U.S. Army 52nd General Hospital stationed in Wolverley, England, which was known as the Syracuse (or the Syracuse University) Unit since the medical school (which was later transferred  from S.U. to Upstate) was authorized in 1922 to organize and staff an Army general hospital. Reynolds volunteered several times to leave the 52nd on Detached Service. On one such assignment, she opened a clinic in the same building with Generals Eisenhower and Patton, with whom she had lunch regularly. Just before “Victory in Japan”, she went on Detached Service to Okinawa by ship where she traveled each night to the airstrip and, along with other Army nurses, triaged former prisoners of war.

Reynolds was persuaded to move to Syracuse following her honorable discharge from the Army and was hired by Syracuse Memorial Hospital, holding positions that included head nurse, supervisor and instructor in maternity nursing from 1946 to 1958. As the obstetrics department nursing supervisor at Syracuse Memorial Hospital she instructed groups of visiting nursing students from hospital schools of nursing and interacted with S.U. nursing students also having obstetrical experiences at Memorial.  She is credited with establishing and teaching the first childbirth classes in Syracuse, during the late 1940’s.

She completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1960 and joined the Visiting Nurse Association, working in public health for two years.  From 1962-1964, she became a field nurse with the City of Syracuse Public Health Nursing Bureau.

In 1964 she became a full-time faculty member at Syracuse University where she influenced twenty years of junior nursing students in classes and hospital experiences.  A significant number of these students went on to pursue careers in obstetrics and midwifery.  She also took on the job each May of being in charge of graduation in Hendricks Chapel.  Reynolds, a beloved faculty member, had the reputation of being an effective teacher, role model and mentor to students and new faculty.

While at S.U. she served as a member of the board for what was then the St. Thomas More Chapel, and was successful at fundraising for major projects there, which was one of many contributions cited when she received an S.U. Alumni Award in 1984.Her extensive volunteer experience included Meals on Wheels, the Red Cross, the Onondaga County Health Department Auxiliary, the Syracuse Symphony, the Everson Museum, the Central N.Y. League for Nursing, District 4 of the N.Y. State Nurses Association, and Sigma Theta Tau, the Omicron Chapter of the International Nursing Honor Society.

Alice Reynolds was a valued member of many constituencies and an integral part of the Syracuse University Nurses Alumni Association.  She will be greatly missed.