Local nurse led medical envoy to help overseas residents

Catherine C. “Kitty” Lory, a resident of Nashville, became concerned about Brown County’s health problems and the community’s inadequate facilities to solve them. She began offering her services as a nurse in 1940.

Mrs. Lory took her nursing and public health training at Battle Creek, Michigan; Indiana University; and the Midwifery Graduate School at the Frontier Nursing Service School in Hyden, Kentucky. This professional training enabled her to be named as the only licensed midwife in the state of Indiana.

Brown County faced a shortage of both physicians and nurses, and it became Mrs. Lory’s objective to meet these needs as fully as her time permitted. In this manner, she provided prenatal care, acted as an obstetrician and worked valiantly to raise the entire county’s health standards. She inspired confidence. The people trusted her and obeyed her instructions.

In 1956, Mrs. Lory left Nashville and joined the International Cooperation Administration, which sent her to the Gbarnga Health Clinic in Liberia. There, she taught midwifery. The graduates were very proud of their certificates, and most went back to their own communities with a new social status and a desire to improve health practices.

In addition to training midwives, Mrs. Lory worked at the Gbarnga clinic, giving shots and vaccinations, treating diseases and dispensing cod liver oil, vitamins, dry milk and cornmeal. The terrific outbreaks of smallpox were still a part of African life. They vaccinated hordes of people in the villages, and Mrs. Lory personally visited the smallpox isolation kitchens to treat people, since there was no one else to do it.

When Mrs. Lory came to Gbarnga, in the bush country of Liberia, the infant death rate was estimated at 70 percent. The one medical clinic often was without a doctor; and modern equipment and drugs were practically nonexistent. At times, there was no doctor in the clinic, and the sick people came to Mrs. Lory’s door at all hours for help.

Mrs. Lory was born Catherine C. Lory Sept. 1, 1895, the daughter of Walter T. and Nellie C. Chappel Lory.

She was a veteran of World War I, serving in the Nurse’s Corps. She remained in France after the war as an exchange surgical nurse. She was a member of the Indianapolis American Legion, the National Public Health Association, the World War Nurses Association, the Indiana Nurses Association and the Business and Professional Women’s Association of Nashville, Indiana.

Mrs. Lory passed this life at the age of 67 in January 1963 at the Public Health Nursing Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

She had one son, William Meier, and one daughter Mrs. Martha (Meier) Weekley. Her beloved mother preceded her in death in July 1961.

“Miss Lory,” as she was called, was loved and respected by all who knew her.