Grady, Lois

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                                     LOIS GRADY
                                  By Margery MacRae

Nurse Lois Grady says she will probably have a difficult time adjusting to retirement. Grady recently retired after 44 years of service at the Miramichi Hospital in Newcastle. “Nursing has been my life and I will probably have a difficult time adjusting to retirement,” she said in an interview.

Grady was supervisor of obstetrics for 41 years at the Miramichi Hospital.

“I can remember when we nurses, attending to the patients’ needs, washed walls and floors and ceiling, climbed step-ladders, scrubbed beds and washed woodwork,” Grady said. Now a housecleaning staff does that type of work. “There was nothing to work with then compared to today,” she said. It took two nurses to lower and raise the gatch beds while “everything is push button now.” She can recall when the hospital only had six beds and as many as 600 babies would be born every year.

                               Third generation babies

Before she retired, Grady was delivering third generation babies. “It isn’t any wonder when some of my former patients’ daughters and granddaughters come in saying, ‘My mother said you’d be here,’ she said. A woman recently saw her and said, “I can’t think of you retiring, you were with me for 11 births.”

She remembered another lady who had 24 pregnancies although not all babies lived.

“We had lots of premature babies then and we fed them with eye droppers. Now we send them to Moncton where there is a special care unit for them.” Grady said the smallest baby she saw born, which lived, weighed one pound and 13 ounces.

In all, she witnessed the birth of 20,000 babies, more than the combine population of Newcastle and Chatham.

Following graduation from Blackville High School in 1944, Grady entered a 3-year nursing program at the Miramichi Hospital.

She became a close friend with four of the 10 girls she was training with. “Ruth (Schofield) Chapman, Isabel (MacKnight) Delano, Byrdie (Touchie) Walls and myself have remained firm friends since then and we have done many things, including vacationing together as well as attending parties and other social events.”

Grady said there was lots of discipline during her years of training, but there were also lots of fun times, too. “We always had to wear our nurses’ hats on duty, (not a requirement today) and until the day I retired, I wore mine and expected my staff to wear theirs also.”

Grady worked in nearly every department of the hospital before deciding what to specialize in. “Since I always liked the nursery, I decided to go into obstetrics and so I took a post-graduate course at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal in 1950.

“During most of my years at school, I had thought I wanted to be a teacher, as back then there were only two professions – teaching or nursing. We didn’t have any ‘career days’ to help us make our decision like they do today,” Grady said.

                              Never missed a day

Grady never missed a day of work due to storms or bad weather.

“For 35 years I travelled to work with my brother Allison, Herschell Jardine and Cameron Vickers all of whom were employed at Flett Motors in Newcastle.” Allison died in 1974. Then for a few years she travelled with Harold Miner and this winter with Lois (MacDonald) Vickers, also a department head nurse at Miramichi. “I travelled by myself for about four years.” Grady said her husband usually drove her the couple of miles to the main highway to ‘catch her drive’, but she can remember walking the distance many times when roads were slippery.

                                   Grady’s background

Grady was one of four children born to the late Fred and Mabel (Walls) Mountain. She has lived her entire life in Blackville. In 1949, she married Joseph Grady and went to live on the Grady homestead on MacLaggan Drive where she resides today. He died in 1981.

“After 12 years of nursing, I decided it was time to stay home and have a family so I took my vacation and went to Montreal and nurse my sister who was quite ill at the time. When I returned, the superintendent asked me if I would come back for a few weeks until they could find someone to take my place. That was 35 years ago,” she laughed.

Because Joe was from a large family, there were many relatives to visit, and all who come were made very welcome. Grady said she was always very close to her brother’s children. “I was there when they were born and though their years of growing up. I just felt like they were my own children. Over the years we sort of adopted our nieces and nephews and they used me like their mother. They used to spend the summers here with us, but they never gave us any trouble. We would even loan them our car at times.”

                                       Runs in family

Grady says she thinks nursing ‘runs’ in her family. “My mother had three sisters who were nurses and spent their entire lives in nursing. They received their training in the United States. I just recently learned that my Grandmother Mountain was a mid-wife. She died before I was old enough to remember her,” she added.

Source: Miramichi Leader – May 8, 1991 This text is available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For more information, select the following link:

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