Founding member of hospital auxiliary dies
Appeal Staff Writer
Lucille Petty, 92, a founding member of the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Auxiliary who dedicated her life to community service, died of natural causes at home in Carson City on Sunday, beside her husband of nearly 69 years.
She died just shy of her Sept. 1 birthday and her wedding anniversary on Sept. 13.
“She was a caring, thoughtful person,” said Dick Petty, a former Carson City doctor, while sitting in the apartment they shared in east Carson City.
Petty and his wife came to Carson City in 1941, before there was a local hospital or auxiliary.
“She visited all the nursing homes; she burned the candle from the early morning to late at night,” said her daughter, Beverly Davenport. “She was a very good mother and wife.”
The Pettys’ other child is Patricia Geiger, of The Dalles, Ore.
In addition to helping form the local auxiliary in 1952, Petty was active with the Brewery Arts Center and First United Methodist Church, and was an avid outdoorswoman. She was a Girl Scout Troop leader and painted many scenes she came across while traveling or hiking.
A few of her oil paintings decorate the walls of the Petty home. “Autumn at Kings Canyon” was painted “before there was a lot of development in Carson City,” her husband said.
Lucille Petty was president of the auxiliary from 1953 to 1954. It’s now named Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare Auxiliary, after the new hospital in North Carson City. Petty was known for loving the organization’s history, and for occasionally leaving her purse behind at meetings.
“(The auxiliary) was close to her heart,” said Rosemary Smith, past president of the auxiliary. “She was a feisty little lady, and she always had something to say. Whenever she got up to talk it would be a while before she sat down because she loved to talk and tell about the days most of us didn’t remember.”
Petty was also an early member of the State Medical Association Auxiliary and the Washoe County Medical Society Auxiliary.
“Mrs. Petty was a very active volunteer and a wonderful person,” said Cheri Glockner, spokeswoman for Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare.
The couple met in the seventh grade in Mount Carroll, Ill., and grew into high school sweethearts. The Pettys had an unconventional romance in the early 20th century.
After graduating in 1932 from St. Francis Hospital, she worked as a surgical nurse and supported her husband through medical school, even buying his wedding suit, Petty said. He was still a medical student at the University of Illinois in Chicago when he decided to propose.
“If you didn’t have a bank account and a house over which you could carry a bride over the threshold, you weren’t supposed to get married,” Petty said. “And your wife wasn’t supposed to be working. So we eloped.”
“I always wanted to be a man of my word, and when I laid my hand on the Bible and I said ‘until death do us part’ – that’s the way we planned it,” Petty said Tuesday.
She died peacefully in her bed at home. “That’s the way he wanted it, and that’s the way she wanted it,” said Davenport.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church, at Musser and Division streets, at 3 p.m. Sept. 8.