Lifestyle

4,000 babies later, Fall City woman, 90, looks back on nursing career, ahead to birthday party

Gloria Morgan at age 16.  - Courtesy Photo
Gloria Morgan at age 16.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Seventy-one years and 4,000 babies after starting her career as a nurse, Fall City resident Gloria Morgan will be celebrating her 90th birthday on Feb. 9.

Anyone meeting Gloria knows she has an opinion about everything, including what it's like to be 90 years old.

“I’m so glad to be around to see so much history over the years,” she reflected.

To continue the celebration of her birthday, the community is invited to a party in her honor, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Snoqualmie Eagles lodge, 8200 Railroad Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie.

A small glimpse at Gloria’s life reveals a larger piece of Snoqualmie Valley history. In 1940, after receiving her nursing degree in Oakland, Gloria moved to Fall City. At that time, nursing paid only $1.50 per hour, so Gloria took a more lucrative position at Weyerhauser as a “trimmer.” After pronouncing that job “boring,” Gloria took a lesser paying but more fulfilling job as a nurse at the Weyerhauser Hospital.

When the hospital closed, the Nelems Hospital was built. For the next 32 years, Gloria worked on call as an obstetrics nurse, earning $5 per delivery.

“So whether labor went for one hour or twelve, five dollars was the going rate,” she said. Gloria estimates that over that time period, she helped deliver over 4,000 babies. This was in addition to raising four children of her own with her husband Carrol.

After retirement, Gloria was hired by Snoqualmie’s own Dr. Doerfler. She worked in the emergency room on weekends and continued for an additional eight years, before retiring again.

That was just her professional life. Already a woman ahead of her time, Gloria was room mother at school, a Campfire leader, a Boy Scout den mother, and a member of the hospital auxiliary, to name just a few activities. In 1971, she was named Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of Snoqualmie Valley.

Carrol and Gloria were married for 50 years before he passed away in 1991. Gloria was still not ready to officially retire, so she began tutoring children in her home, a labor of love she continues to this day. Not only does Gloria help the children with reading and math, she also teaches them basic gardening, how to care for animals, and even provides cooking lessons. Until recently, Gloria taught beginning piano to many of the children.

“If I saw that a kid had talent, I would let the parents know and refer them to a piano teacher," she said. "But for other kids, I would say, ‘Don’t even buy ‘em a whistle!'"

Gloria has no intention of slowing down and loves to read, garden, and care for the menagerie of pets owned by her extended family, which includes six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

When asked about her proudest achievement, Gloria said “That I have healthy and reasonably intelligent people” (meaning family) “who can run their own lives.” As for the secret of a long life, Gloria laughed and said, “It isn’t a secret—it’s just luck! And having a good gene pool!"

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