St. Joseph’s Hospital employees attend reunion

Photo by Madeline Scarborough From left, longtime friends and former co-workers Shirley McClain, Carolyn Cunningham, Jo Emrick and Thelma Oliver catch up on news at Thursday’s picnic.

PARKERSBURG — Memories and good food were shared among many former St. Joseph’s Hospital employees from all departments at the fifth annual hospital reunion picnic Thursday at Southwood Park.

A social event had not been held in the past for employees of St. Joseph’s Hospital, prompting Carolyn Cunningham to start the picnic, she said. Cunningham worked as a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital for 48 years.

“This reunion has really built up each year, which is great because it gives us a chance to catch up with old friends,” said Jim Anderson, of Parkersburg.

Anderson said he worked as an X-ray technician at St. Joseph’s for 38 years, and that it was where he met his wife, Ann, who also worked in the hospital.

St. Joseph’s Hospital opened in 1900 and closed in 2014 as the St. Joseph’s Campus of Camden Clark Medical Center.

Photo by Madeline Scarborough Nearly 100 former St. Joseph’s Hospital employees from all departments attended a picnic Thursday at Southwood Park in Parkersburg.

“We were both transferred to Camden after the hospital closed down,” Anderson said.

Lois Padden, 94, a former St. Joseph’s Hospital board member, was at the picnic with her daughter and daughter-in-law, who both worked at St. Joseph’s.

“I think I served on every committee they had at one point or another,” said Padden.

Every table was full of laughter and smiles as people passed around old photographs and shared stories from the previous years.

While looking through photos, Sarah Padden found one of her brother-in-law, who had also worked at the hospital, with sideburns, which she thought was a great memory. She passed the photo around, snapping a picture of it with her phone to send to him and show her niece.

Among others at the picnic was Thelma Oliver, who graduated from the St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in 1952.

“There were a total of 18 nurses in my class,” said Oliver.

Oliver, and just about everyone at the picnic when asked, said their favorite part of the time spent at St. Joseph’s Hospital was patient care.

“I remember when I was going through training, the program (nursing) was the absolute best, in my opinion,” said Joyce Wood.

Wood talked about the first-hand experience she was able to receive observing doctors as they worked.

“They would announce when something more out-of-the ordinary would be taking place, and there was always a crowd of nurses to watch,” Wood said.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com