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Margaret Ruth Bolinger
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Birth: Feb. 19, 1918
Van Wert
Van Wert County
Ohio, USA
Death: Jul. 25, 1951
Kansas City
Wyandotte County
Kansas, USA

Enlisted in the Army 19 Jan 1943
Ruth was in St Luke's hospital in Kansas City, MO from 7 Jun1950 to 25 Jul 1951 where she died at 1:30 AM 25 Jul 1951


Margaret Ruth Scott was known as "Ruth" to her family and "Peggy" to her husband, Robert Bolinger. She was born on February 21,1918, in the Scott family home in Van Wert, Ohio. Her parents were Pearl and Francis Scott. Her older brother Gerald ("Hugh") was almost 2 when Margaret was born. Margaret attended the Van Wert, Ohio public schools through graduation in 1936. After high school she attended nursing school in nearby Fort Wayne, Indiana. She graduated from nursing school on August 22, 1940. In her graduation speech as salutatorian, Margaret said: "... I know this is the right career for each of us, for we shall succeed and excel, individually and as a class, ONLY, if this is the work we should do - and to excel is our goal..." It is easy to imagine that Margaret was a dedicated nurse. Margaret was licensed as a registered nurse in Ohio in January of 1941. Thereafter, she apparently pursued her nursing career in area hospitals.

On December 7, 1941, the United States was drawn into World War II by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On January 19, 1943, Margaret enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps. She was inducted into the Army at Camp Phillips, Kansas. It is believed that she met her future husband, Robert Bolinger, at Camp Phillips. Robert accepted a commission to 2nd liutenant March 1943 following a 9 month enlistment as a noncommissioned officer. Many "non-coms" became officers in this way during the war in the "90 Day Wonder" program. On August 28, 1943, Margaret and Robert were married in Robert's hometown, Caney, Kansas. The marriage took place at the Bolinger family home. Eight years later, in her eulogy, Pastor Walker of Caney, Kansas would say: "Nearly eight years ago in the Bolinger home, I joined together in Holy Matrimony Bob and Peggy who were both in the uniforms of our country. Evidently they both were attired in new uniforms for the occasion and I never hope to see a more impressive picture than when Peggy came down the stairs to meet her husband. She was beautiful, gracious, and stately in her uniform, and I will never forget the sparkle in her eyes."

Almost immediately after the wedding, Mr. & Mrs. Bolinger were transferred to duty stations oceans apart. It is believed that they did not see each other again until 1945. After a few months of service in South Carolina and Tennessee, Margaret was shipped out to the South Pacific in January 1944. While in the South Pacific, Margaret was stationed as a surgical nurse with a surgical hospital which was headed by the well known Mayo brothers. The Mayo brothers would later gain fame with their Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After the war, Margaret sent Dr. Charles Mayo a box of cheese as a souvenir of Van Wert, Ohio. Apparently the cheese was very aromatic. In a "thank you" letter to Margaret dated January 5, 1946, Dr. Mayo writes:

"Dear Scotty, not long ago a box arrived from Mrs. Robert Bolinger of Van Wert, Ohio. It was on my desk in the den out at the farm for about a day and everybody was looking around the floor to see where the dogs had unbroken their house-breaking. When I arrived, I walked in and at first made the same type of inspection ... on opening the box, I found Liederdranz cheese which I recall having told you was the second thing for which Van Wert was famous, the first being that it was your home ... I hope that by now you have fully recovered from your illness that you had in the Philippines. If not, and we can do anything for you here, or for that matter, if you want to go to work again and we can do anything for you here, let me know.

Good nurses are certainly needed ... I hope that your husband is back and that things are getting back to a normal state again. You did a wonderful job with the outfit and made many friends ... Sincerely yours, Chuck".

As a memento of her travels abroad, Margaret carried a wooden souvenir tray. The dates of her service and the names of her various duty stations are carved into the tray, a permanent record of her war-related travels in the South Pacific. Margaret's first stop was Sidney, Australia. Following in 1944 were duty stations at Auckland, New Zealand, Katoomba, Brisbane, and Southport, Australia, and in New Guinea.

On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. On August 6,1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

While in the Philippines, Margaret was attached to the 128th Station Hospital in Manila. As the war ended she visited Corregidor following the liberation of the U.S. troops which had surrendered there to the Japanese.

In a letter to her parents dated August 14, 1945, (published in the local Van Wert newspaper) she writes:

"I took a trip to the historic but tragic "Rock" today Corregidor. I went into the cave where Wainwright surrendered. It was full of rubble, bones, clothing, partially exploded torpedo crates and what have you. I was glad to get out. That's where our boys hid from the Japs... There are fortifications all over the island and incidentally there are at least 12 Japs still at large... A Jap walked in one day and said 'I quit' in perfect English... I suppose there are some human Japs but very few get a chance to prove it. It took us two hours to go over in an army crash boat... We spent three hours on the island. When we came back we had to drive through Manila to get here and what a mess. Traffic jams, paper floating out of windows and big signs saying 'It's All Over'. I'm so thrilled but I couldn't help but think of all the people at home. I think they've had their share of mental anquish. The war ending now has saved many lives. It's really tragic for parents whose boys won't come home. I couldn't help praying a silent prayer when I first heard the news. Some of the girls think we may get home for Christmas but I'd rather bet on Easter."

In the Philippines, Margaret contracted a disease called polynodosa arteritis also known as polyarteritis. The disease attacks blood vessels; even modern medical literature describes it as usually fatal with the cause not being definitely established. It is possible that in Margaret's case the disease was hepatitis-related, acquired from operating room blood.

In August 1945 she was flown out of the South Pacific as a litter patient to Indianapolis via the Philippines, Hawaii, and Guam. In February of 1946, Margaret was officially discharged from the Army as a first lieutenant. Her military records reflect 3 years of service, 1 year and 4 months U.S. duty and 1 year and 8 months overseas. She was separated at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois. Presumably she had been under Army medical care between the time of her return to the U.S. in August 1945 and her separation 7 months later.

In February of 1946, she was living in Caney, Kansas and wrote home that she was expecting that Robert should be sailing from his duty station (India) at about this time. There was a housing shortage in Caney; she is not sure what Robert was going to do when he was discharged although she thought that possibly his father, Herschel Bolinger, could get him a job at the bank where he was head cashier. (Robert ultimately went on to dental school.) One comment in the letter reflecting the effects of the polyarteritis was that Margaret says that all she can do is sleep.

On May 5, 1946, Robert Bolinger was discharged from the Army. On December 5, 1946, Robert Jr. was born in Coffeyville, Kansas. In July 1947 Robert, Margaret, and Robert Jr. moved to Sunflower, Kansas, where Robert started dental school in Kansas City, Missouri. In 1948, Robert and Margaret spent 2 months at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver probably for medical treatment for Margaret.

During the summer of 1949, the Bolingers traveled to Van Wert for the summer where Robert worked for the N.Y.C. railroad cleaning box cars. Margaret's father, Francis, worked for the same railroad and in fact retired in the 1970's after over 42 years of service.

Margaret's last employment was at Memorial Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1949.

In June of 1950 Margaret was hospitalized at St. Lukes Hospital in Kansas City. Robert Sr. was in dental school and slept many nights on a cot in the hospital room. Robert, Jr. stayed with relatives, notably his grandparents Pearl and Francis Scott in Ohio, Hugh & Violet Scott in New Jersey and Patty Scott Findley in Ohio.

Margaret had many visitors including multiple visits from her mother, Pearl, who travelled by train from Ohio. The Bolingers spent Christmas of 1950 at the hospital. In June 1951 Robert graduated from dental school.

On July 25, 1951, Margaret died at St. Lukes Hospital after 13 months of hospitalization. She was interred at Sunnyside Cemetery in Caney, Kansas.
(Notes Bob Bolinger, Jr.) 
 
Burial:
Sunnyside Cemetery
Caney
Montgomery County
Kansas, USA
 
Created by: zenman
Record added: Jan 04, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 12888188
Margaret Ruth Bolinger
Added by: zenman
 
Margaret Ruth Bolinger
Added by: zenman
 
Margaret Ruth Bolinger
Added by: Sherry
 
 
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- Julia Milton
 Added: Dec. 30, 2008

- Lise
 Added: Apr. 7, 2008

- Lorraine Blake
 Added: Feb. 18, 2007
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