Ruth M. Wherry
1926 ~ 2019
Ruth M. Wherry passed away March 28, 2019, at Eagle Valley Care Center, in Carson City, NV. She had a long career in nursing; was a devoted mother, grandmother, aunt, and cousin; was active in her church and community; and traveled on five continents.
She was born in Boone County, Iowa in 1926 to Eland and Myrtle (Gardner) Bates. She graduated from Napier High School in 1943 and entered nurses training at Iowa Methodist School of Nursing during WWII as a cadet nurse, graduating in 1947. She practiced as a nurse in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and nursing homes in the Des Moines, Iowa area through 2001, and as a home health nurse and in nursing homes in Carson City, Nevada, before retiring at age 87 in 2013. Her longest position was as an intensive care nurse at Des Moines General Hospital, 1975-2001. She also taught nursing courses and inspired young women to enter the profession, from the 1960s through 2012. She was a leader among Iowa Methodist alumni and of the Iowa Nurses Association.
On June 13, 1947, in Des Moines, she married John D. Wherry, who died in 1958. To this union were born four children, all surviving: Margaret (Peg) Wherry, Bozeman, MT; Marta (DeLoe) Mathatas, Wooster, OH; John T. Wherry, Des Moines, IA; and Mary Wherry, Carson City, NV. She is also survived by step-children John Ogilvie, Des Moines; Susan (David) Bailey, Monument, CO; and Ron Dickerson, Des Moines, as well as four grandsons (John [Danielle] Mathatas, Ft. Knox, KY; James K. [Christy] Mathatas, Ashland, OH; Robert Mathatas, Brunswick, OH; and Ben Wherry, Des Moines, IA, along two step-granddaughters, Julie (Bruce) Sergeant, Lecompton, KS, and Cheryl (Robin) Green, Shelton, WA. Other survivors include her sister Mary (Edward) Pecoraro, Spring Valley, CA, six great-grandchildren, and 22 nieces and nephews.
In 66 years as a nurse, she was part of many changes, from the supply shortages created by WWII, working with iron lungs, and wearing white uniforms and caps through the computerized diagnostic and monitoring tools used today. In the early 1950s she helped initiate the Iowa Methodist Heart Station, assisting with cardiac catheterizations and angiograms. In 1968-70 she was director of nursing at the Jefferson Homes, Indianola, IA, where she led an Extended Care Facility to accreditation by JCAHO, one of only two in Iowa at the time. In the 1990s she was recognized as Nurse of the Year at Des Moines General Hospital. She visited the Republic of China and the Philippines with members of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
Travel was a part of her church life as well, starting with a Youth Caravan experience in New York City in 1944. She went with a Bishop’s study tour to Scotland and attended the World Methodist Conference in Kenya, Singapore, Brazil and England. She taught Sunday School, led committees and was a lay speaker throughout her life. She still found time for community activities as well, in Des Moines and in Warren County, IA.
A memorial service will be held at 6:00 p.m., April 3, at First United Methodist Church in Carson City; Capital City Cremation is handling arrangements. Another service will be held on May 4 at Grace United Methodist Church in Des Moines.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the World Methodist Museum at Lake Junaluska, NC, the American Nurses Foundation or a charity of choice.