Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Nellie M. Dingley

As published in the Alumni Record, Painesville High School, Painesville, Ohio
Compiled and Published by the Painesville High School Alumni Association in 1925

Transcribed by Linda Jeffery, November 2004.

Nellie M. Dingley, ’00

Many years ago in a beautiful church in far away Italy was buried a prominent Christian leader, one who had been faithful through all the years. His tomb was built by a friend for this purpose, “lest he should be unremembered.” Whenever a vistor to this famous church pauses to decipher the inscription, the intention of its maker is fulfilled. One could never read the words without being moved by the thought of the human instinct that called it forth, the instinct that forbids us to forget our dead and makes us desire that others shall remember them.

It is this instinct which prompts us to recall the life and work of Nellie M. Dingley, P.H.S. 1900. She was born in Painesville, July 9, 1881, the only daughter of Frank Weston Dingley and Kate Dewey Dingley. She was a merry, healthy girl, light hearted, making friends easily.

About a year after her graduation from high school she offered her services to the Morley Public Library as a student assistant to the Librarian. When the Carnegie Library in Kent, Ohio was opened, she was chosen from a large number of applicants, by the Board, for their Librarian. Her personal charm won out over very much better trained women. She remained there about seven years, discovering in herself a love for children which led her to read much along lines leading to work with them, which never was work for her, but pleasure.

Friendship with a woman physician convinced her, that this was very buoyancy was an invaluable asset for a nurse. Through this friend’s influence she entered Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and was graduated with honors.

Then came the great war. When America went in, Roosevelt Hospital heartily joined in the project of sending what were called Mobile Operating Units down to the Front. Nellie M. Dingley’s name appears among the volunteer nurses. They reached Paris, July 4th, 1918. Post cards and letters came back without address or date.

The last letter told of a ride on the Marne, in the moonlight, in a canoe, sent by a Canadian father to his son. He took the two nurses who had pulled him through pneumonia, to show his gratitude.

The next day Miss Dingley was received at the Field Hospital, dying there Aug. 28th of pneumonia. Burial took place August 30th, with full military honors, in the American Cemetery as Suresnes, twelve miles west of Paris, grave No. 488.

And so in the great cause of humanity Nellie M. Dingley laid down her life.

On Memorial Day, 1919, President Wilson, standing in the Suresnes Cemetery situated on the hillside of the ancient fortress of Mount Valerian, looking over the ancient graves of the American soldiers on one side, and the French on the other, said:

“These citizens of America gave that greatest of all gifts, the gift of life, and the gift of spirit. They are not buried in alien soil, they are at home, sleeping with the spirits of those who thought the same thoughts and entertained the same aspirations.”

An official notice from Washington, dated January 15, 1923 included Miss Dingley’s name in the list of nurses awarded the “Medaile d’ Honneur des Epidemies.”

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Last updated 11 Nov 2004

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© 2004 Cynthia Turk. All rights reserved.