Catherine H. Hall, who served as a combat nurse in the Pacific during World War II and later established a patient transport system at Mercy Medical Center, died of cancer Sunday at her Joppa home. She was 80.
Born Catherine Hohmes and raised on McKewin Avenue in Baltimore, she was a graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame. She earned a degree in nursing from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in 1944.
She enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps in 1945 and served as a charge nurse in the Philippines, where she cared for survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March that claimed an estimated 14,000 lives. She also included among her patients Japanese soldiers.
"She never went into too much detail about what she saw because so much of it was so grisly," said a son, Stephen J. Hall of Joppa. "She remembered the Japanese snipers that hid in the trees and shot at the nurses."
Mrs. Hall attended the war crimes trial of Gen. Masaharu Homma that was held in Manila at the end of World War II. The Japanese general was held responsible for the deaths of thousands of Allied troops who perished during the death march.
She was discharged with the rank of lieutenant, and her decorations included the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.
After the war, she worked at a hospital in Elmira, N.Y., before moving to Baltimore in the late 1940s when she joined the nursing staff of the old Marine Hospital, now the Wyman Park Medical Center.
She was married in 1952 to James J. Hall, who was employed at Edgewood Arsenal. After his death in 1971, she returned to nursing and joined the staff of what is now Mercy Medical Center.
At the hospital, she devised and established a transportation system that delivered patients to the proper areas for treatment.
"She was a lovely person who was well-liked," said Sister Mary Thomas Zinkand, Mercy's president emeritus. "She started our patient transportation system, and when she got a call, she made sure they got to the right place and on time. She took care of the entire hospital."
Regina Rackson, president of the nursing school's alumni organization, was in the same class as Mrs. Hall.
"She was always very, very concerned about her patients. If one of her employees as much as sneezed, she sent them to the health department. She was a very caring person who had a great sense of humor," said Mrs. Rackson of Lutherville.
Mrs. Hall retired in 1987.
"She wanted to care for people and was always willing to help someone. It was something she always wanted to do," said a cousin, Alma R. Marll of Joppa.
She was a communicant of St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Bradshaw. She also belonged to the church's Bible study group and Golden Age Club.
One of the highlights of her life was attending an audience with Pope John Paul II during a visit to Italy in the 1990s.
Mrs. Hall enjoyed going on bus trips and shopping.
A Mass of Christian burial was offered Wednesday at St. Stephen's.
Survivors include another son, Kevin M. Hall of Jacksonville, Ark.; a daughter, Maryann C. Salyards of Westminster; and six grandchildren.
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