Mary Gilbert Holmes (b. 1937) Lynchburg Public Health Nurse

In 1957 Mary Vida Gilbert Holmes completed a two-year course at the Piedmont Sanatorium School of Tuberculosis Nursing in Burkeville. Two years later she met requirements for the RN at St. Philip School of Nursing, Medical College of Virginia. For twenty-five years she served as a member of the nursing staff of the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Health, retiring in 1991. In 1990 she was named nurse of the year for the Central Virginia Health District.

Loaned by Mary Gilbert Holmes

Mary Holmes and Sickle Cell Awareness, 1991-1995

After retiring from the Lynchburg Health Department in 1991, Mary Gilbert Holmes helped to found the Sickle Cell Awareness Association of Central Virginia, which she served as president. She was also president of the Statewide Sickle Cell Chapters of Virginia.

Shortly after the sickle cell trait was identified in 1910, the second recorded case of sickle cell was reported at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville. The patient was Ellen Anthony of Campbell County.

Loaned by Mary Gilbert Holmes

Mary Gilbert Holmes

“I remember one of my first visits as a public health nurse. There was a dirt floor, really a dirt floor, in the house. I had never seen that before and I just couldn’t imagine it.”

“You get to see what really makes people tick. You see that they don’t have the finances to get the proper food. They’re really a courageous people—they’ve got pride—but they’re deprived of the things that you take for granted.”

Loaned by Mary Gilbert Holmes

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