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Ruth Raisley

Retiree, centenarian

Ruth Raisley and Barbara Knott

Ruth Raisley celebrated her 100th birthday
in 2014, the same year AMH marks its 100th year.
Here is Mrs. Raisley with her niece Barbara Kott.
Mrs. Raisley spent 40 years of her career at the
hospital and was nicknamed “Mrs. Abington.”
She still keeps up with her co-worker Ann
Ehrmann from her early days working at AMH
in Administration (Ann’s story is also on the
website). The two chat by phone every Tuesday.

I just loved working at Abington Memorial Hospital. I started there in 1944, when it was a small-town hospital. Back then, you could park at the front entrance or in the nurses’ school parking lot and go right in to work. There was no big garage or valet service.

I came to AMH from Germantown Hospital where I worked for James Shipley. I was his secretary in the Purchasing Department, and he told me he would only go to AMH if I would go with him. Mr. Shipley died just three days after he arrived at Abington to begin his new job as executive director.

There was a period of at least two years when the hospital had no executive director, and it became my role as the secretary in Administration to visit the various hospital departments to make sure everything was OK. I attended all board meetings and took minutes. George Elkins, Jr., president of the Board of Trustees, tried to get the board to accept me as the hospital president, but I think the board members weren’t ready for a woman to hold that position. I felt that this was really right at that time, because all of the hospitals had men in that role. Besides, I really didn’t want the job because I would have had to go into town for meetings.

Eventually, Morris George, our comptroller, was appointed executive director. I helped to prepare him for his new position, and I absolutely loved working for him. In 1979, after serving as executive director for 31 years, Mr. George retired and Richard Brechbiel took his place. He was a very nice man. He and his wife were tragically killed in an automobile accident some years later. I remember that the hospital rented a bus so we could all go to their hometown for the funeral.

After 40 years at AMH, I retired in 1984. That was 30 years ago, and I am now 100 years old – the same age as the hospital. Abington Memorial Hospital was my life, and I loved every minute of my time there. Our board members were committed to having a really good hospital, and the personnel all got along. It was a family and everyone really cared about making sure the patients were satisfied. I retired because my husband was sick and I needed to take care of him. Otherwise, I would never have left.

Mrs. Abington

(Click here or on the image above for a readable PDF.)

The story above is about Ruth Raisley, from the 1984 AMH employee newsletter Stethoscoop. Upon her retirement, she had worked at AMH longer than any other employee to that point. Her title was assistant vice president for Administration, and she served as an officer on two AMH boards – assistant secretary to the AMH Board and secretary to the AMHF Board. Mrs. Raisley served 11 board chairs during her tenure and was a highly respected, beloved member of the hospital family.