Home Obituary Madonna Elaine Hoelscher, 90, Former Howard County Health Nurse, Nov. 27

Madonna Elaine Hoelscher, 90, Former Howard County Health Nurse, Nov. 27

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M. Elaine Hoelscher, St. Vincent's Infirmary, 1948, Color 600ppiMadonna Elaine (Thennes) Hoelscher, 90, passed away on Friday, November 27, 2015, at St. Bernard Medical Center in Jonesboro after a brief illness.
Elaine was born on May 15, 1925, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to Matthew (Mathias) Anton Thennes and Genevieve Ula (Difani) Thennes. Elaine graduated from St. Paul Catholic School in Pocahontas as the valedictorian in May 1944. She worked at Oak Ridge, Tennessee from 1944-45, with her family on what later would become known as the secret WWII project to build the first atomic weapon. She then attended St. Vincent Infirmary School of Nursing in Little Rock and graduated at the top of her class in 1949. Elaine then worked for Dr. Matthew A. Baltz and later for Dr. Thomas DeClerk in Pocahontas. Elaine married James (Jim) E. Hoelscher at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Pocahontas on September 6, 1952. She became a registered nurse and later worked at the VA Hospital and U. of A. Infirmary in Fayetteville while Jim attended college. After the family moved to Walnut Ridge, she worked as a nurse at the Lawrence County Memorial Hospital and later at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) in Lawrence County. The family then moved to Nashville, Arkansas where she worked for Dr. Smith, M.D. from 1964-65, as the director of the Golden Age Nursing Home from 1965-66, and later for the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) as the Public Health Nurse for Howard County beginning in 1966. There she greatly expanded services offered including vaccination, mid-wife, family planning, health education and services, a new health department building, and other programs all based on the needs of the entire community. Elaine moved back to Pocahontas in the early 1980s, worked as the ADH Public Health Nurse for Randolph County, and retired in 1987 after twenty years of service to the state. She worked tirelessly throughout her entire nursing career to improve public health in Arkansas. Elaine lived on the family farm on Hoelscher Lane west of Pocahontas until 1998 when she moved into the Outlook Pointe/Elmcroft assisted care center and then finally into the Pocahontas Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. Elaine is a past member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), APHA Southern Branch, and the Arkansas Public Health Nurses Association. She had received numerous awards and citations during her long public health career. She is survived by her sister, Clara Price (Dean), Lawrence, Kansas; daughter Dr. Linda Sanders (Jim), Jones, Oklahoma; son James Jr., Fayetteville; son Joe (Lorri), Baldwin City, Kansas; and daughter Betty (Elizabeth), Owego, New York; five grandchildren Dr. Jason Sanders, M.D., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Catherine Williams, Lawton, Oklahoma; Leah Hoelscher, Noah Hoelscher, and Eli Hoelscher, Kansas; and four great grandchildren Natalie Nixon and Brian Williams, Lawton, Oklahoma; Will and Luke Sanders, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and over thirty nieces and nephews. Elaine was preceded in death by husband James E. Hoelscher; son Edward Michael; her parents; six brothers Matthew Clemons, Jacob (JL), Matthew (Junior), Joe (Colonel), Mike, and John (Pat); and five sisters Genevieve Baltz (Henry), Ula DeClerk (Thomas), Mercedes Ryan (Andy), Vera Thennes, and Clementine Thennes. Visitation was 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with Rosary after 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at McNabb Funeral Home in Pocahontas. Funeral mass will be at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Pocahontas. The graveside service will be held afterwards at St. Paul cemetery. Following this, family and friends are welcome to attend a reception at St. Paul School across from the Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church Parish Life Center fund or to the charity of your choice in her memory.

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