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Hospital auxiliary honors volunteers, late doctor

  • Hospital auxiliary honors volunteers, late doctor
    Copyright 2013
Published June 27. 2013 05:10PM

Volunteers were recognized, a generous gift was donated, and a recently deceased doctor was remembered as part of the recent Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary Annual Dinner Meeting.

Jenny Serfass, president of the auxiliary, welcomed guests and noted there was a higher turnout than normal, which she attributed to the auxiliary paying tribute to Dr. Jane Goplerud.

She introduced Anne Erskine Gupman, guest speaker; Andrew Harris, president and CEO of Blue Mountain Health System; Priscilla Offen, immediate past president, auxiliary; Michael Harleman, chairman of the board at BMHS; his wife, Doreen Harleman; Violet Strickland, auxiliary treasurer; and Henry Bisbing, president, Lehighton auxiliary.

Serfass announced that three $1,000 scholarships are given out each year, two of which go to high school students, and the other to a Palmerton Hospital employee pursuing further education in the nursing field.

Justine Strohl, who received the Joyce White Nursing Award scholarship, said she was honored to receive the award.

"I want to thank everyone for my award," Strohl said. "It is going to help with my schooling a lot."

High school Class of 2013 graduates Morgan Mummey and Alexandria Quinn also received scholarships.

Mummey, who will attend Arcadia University to study physical therapy, received the Nancy G. Mendsen Medical Career Award.

Quinn, who will attend Moravian College to major in nursing, received the Dan & Mary Shook Nursing Award.

While neither was in attendance due to prior commitments, both submitted thank you notes that were read by Serfass.

Serfass then introduced past presidents of the auxiliary, Offen, Irene Shinsec and Joyce White. She also introduced honorary members Marge Geiger, Strickland, and White.

Serfass then recognized Louise Zatoris for 45 years of loyal service to the hospital. She was presented with a $50 gift card from the Owl's Nest, and 45 hugs and kisses.

The highlight of the evening was the tribute to Dr. Goplerud.

Jeanne Stemler, who worked in Dr. Jane's clinic, was the first to share memories of her.

Stemler said Dr. Jane was born in Osage, Iowa, to Ethel and Clifford Goplerud, and had two brothers and a sister. She attended Grinnell College and graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School.

In 1948, she came to Palmerton and conducted her obstetrics clinic in the dispensary of the old Palmerton Hospital. She did surgical procedures and delivered over 8,700 babies.

Dr. Jane had access to many specialists throughout the country, and used them as consultants, including her brother, Pete, who was on the staff in the same field at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Jane built a home on First Street and shared it with Dot Sharp, the hospital anesthetist, and her dog Storky.

For the past few years, Dr. Jane lived at Bush's Personal Care Home until her death on Feb. 14, at the age of 93.

Stemler said Dr. Jane was a generous person who always supported organizations in town.

Zatoris said Dr. Jane delivered thousands of babies, including not only herself, but her two daughters as well.

Dr. Jane, Zatoris said, loved Palmerton Hospital and the community.

"She was one of a kind," Zatoris said. "She was the best kind."

Evelyn Plechavy, who worked in the operating room, said Dr. Jane "was a good obstetrician, good doctor; she was one of the best."

Betty Steigerwalt, who also worked in the operating room, said Dr. Jane "was really a wonderful person. I guess she liked us, because she stayed."

Nancy Nothstein, who worked with Dr. Jane, said "she was the most intelligent woman and kind woman that I ever knew. She taught me so much, and I still use some of it today.

"She didn't want people to know of all the kind things she did," Nothstein said. "We were always friends, and I really miss her."

Shirley Blynn, a one-time patient of Dr. Jane, said she and her husband lost their first two children because they were both premature. It was Dr. Jane who took the couple to Washington, D.C., to tell them of a procedure that might help.

"We had three children we probably wouldn't have if not for Dr. Jane," said Blynn.

Serfass said that since Dr. Jane enjoyed chocolate so much, the auxiliary thought it fitting to have hot fudge sundaes on for desert.

A brief business meeting followed, at which time Serfass announced that Dr. Jane had set aside a $1,000 gift in her estate designated for the Palmerton Hospital.

Serfass then asked for suggestions as to how the money should be spent.

Serfass said gifts the auxiliary has already given to the hospital include new furniture for the waiting rooms, visitor's room and ICU ($2,690); flowers for the hospital ($150); and a bariatric chair for the bedside in one of the bariatric rooms ($900).

Serfass then asked Harris, Harleman and Strickland to come forward, at which time she presented this year's gift in the amount of $36,000, which came by way of savings ($21,000); checking ($14,000); and the Owl's Nest ($1,000).

That donation raised the auxiliary's total annual gift to the hospital to $39,740.

Harleman thanked the auxiliary for its generous donation, and told them that "volunteerism is the lifeblood of the hospital."

In light of today's health care, Harleman told the volunteers "your loyalty is more and more important by the day."

Harris thanked the auxiliary, and told them "everyone of your are priceless."

Afterward, Zatoris introduced Ann Erskine Gupman, MA, CIP (Certified Institutional Review Board Professional, Addictions IRB Administrator for National Institutes of Health, who is Goplerud's godchild.

The daughter of the late L. Allan Erskine, MD, Gupman shared some of her fondest memories of Palmerton; and specifically the old Palmerton Hospital.

She said her favorite memory of Dr. Jane was when she would be in her father's office, and Jane would come in and ask Gupman if she wanted to see the babies.

The biggest thing about being a doctor's child, Gupman said, "is that you never get sick."

Gupman told those in attendance "this hospital is wonderful."

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