Grete Sofie Justine Westly, R.N.

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Grete Sofie Justine Westly, R.N.

Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Norway
Death: January 29, 1942 (52)
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Place of Burial: Minneapolis, Hennepin Co., MN
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Søren Sørensen Vestly / Westlye and Justine Gabrielsdatter Haugland
Sister of Søren Westlye; Gjertrud Marta Maria Olson; Grete Olina Westlye; Gunhild Olina (Lina) Friestad; Grete Westlye and 3 others

Managed by: Stacy Westly
Last Updated:

About Grete Sofie Justine Westly, R.N.

Birth, death and burial information is from The family history compilation entitled Aasland-Aetten, 1762-1979 lists her birthdate as June 29, 1899. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 lists her birthdate as June 20, 1889. and the 1920, 1930 and 1940 censuses confirm that the Aasland-Aetten book contains a typo regarding year of birth. Per the censuses and the headstone, the date June 20, 1889 must be correct.

The American Journal of Nursing. Grethe S. Westly (class of 1915, Lutheran Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing Minneapolis, Minnesota) died on January 29, 1942 at the Deaconess Hospital, Minneapolis, after an illness of four months. In September 1918, as a reserve nurse, Army Nurse Corps, Miss Westly sailed for Europe for service with Evacuation Hospital 10, remaining with that unit until April 1919. She returned to the states that summer after an excellent record during her entire period of service and became a private duty nurse, later an anesthetist.

Background to Grethe's work: On Christmas Day in 1882, Sister Elisabeth Fedde received a letter from her brother-in-law, Gabriel challenging her to set up a ministry to serve the struggling Norwegian immigrants in New York City, many of whom worked in the shipping industry along the Brooklyn waterfront. The challenge would call for steadfast faith, great powers of organization and administration, limitless capacity for hard work and a spirit of self-sacrifice. She established the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconesses' Home and Hospital in Brooklyn. The nine bed hospital grew into what we know today as NYU Lutheran Medical Center.

The roots of the Fairview Deaconess Hospital and its nursing program in Minneapolis go back to the 1888 establishment of a deaconess home on Hennepin Avenue by Sister Elizabeth Fedde, following a meeting of the General Council of the Norwegian Lutheran Church (later the American Lutheran Church) in Minneapolis. In 1891 the first permanent home was established at 417 East 23rd Street, which became known as the Deaconess Home and Hospital. Thereafter the facility was operated under the overall leadership of a rector, with a deaconess serving as superintendent of the hospital and a sister superior directing the home. A new 90-bed hospital (24th Street and 15th Avenue) was dedicated in 1910, and in 1916 the training school for nurses was established, superseding the deaconess training program. The following year Bergh Hall, a dormitory to house 40 student nurses, was completed. In 1920 the institution was renamed Lutheran Deaconess Hospital (LDH), and both its physical plant and its programs continued growing over the following decades.

Military service during World War I: enlisted April 26, 1918, discharged May 18, 1919. [U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963]

  • Immigration from Norway: June 1904 with sister Gunhild, bound for Langron, Cavalier Co., ND to join first cousin Søren Iverson. [ New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Year: 1904; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 0469; Line: 2; Page Number: 83]
  • Naturalized April 8, 1920 in Minneapolis [New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Roll T715, 1897-1957 6001-7000 Roll 6028]
  • Occupation and residence 1926 and 1938: Registered nurse, Lutheran Deaconess Hospital and Home, 1442 E. 24th St., Minneapolis [Minneapolis City Directory]
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Grete Sofie Justine Westly, R.N.'s Timeline

June 20, 1889
January 29, 1942
Age 52
Minneapolis, MN, USA
Minneapolis, Hennepin Co., MN