Edna "Bucky" Buchhardt, a retired registered nurse in Baltimore who was seriously injured while serving in World War II, died of complications of old age at her Northeast Baltimore home Wednesday. She was 91.
Edna Zipp was born and raised in Baltimore, where her father was a statistician for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., and her mother was a homemaker. She graduated from Eastern High School in 1931 and went on to St. Joseph's Nursing School, where she specialized in communicable diseases.
After nursing school, she enlisted in the Army Nurses Corps, where she rose to the rank of captain. She met her future husband, Gunnar "Buck" Buchhardt, whom she wed in 1942, at an Army base in Texas. During World War II, she served in Northern Africa and in Europe, where her responsibilities included attending to wounded prisoners of war.
"Some of the prisoners would have hand grenades in their stomachs; sometimes they would have a knife," said daughter Karen Westerman of Monkton. "The nurses had to be very, very careful."
Her service was cut short in 1943 when she was involved in a Jeep accident in Naples, Italy. The accident left her temporarily paralyzed. She had more than 16 surgeries throughout her life as a result, Mrs. Westerman said.
Mrs. Buchhardt returned to Baltimore and awaited her husband, who joined her in 1945. She and her husband, a salesman, had four children. One son, David, died shortly after birth. Mr. Buchhardt died in 1983.
In 1951, Mrs. Buchhardt went to work as a registered nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she remained for 25 years. She later served as director of nursing at Mount Sinai Nursing Home, and as a registered nurse at Mount Wilson Hospital.
Mrs. Buchhardt was able to balance a demanding work schedule with an active family life.
"She was just the perfect mom," said another other daughter, Mary McFarland of Burke, Va. "She never missed anything we did ... even if she had an hour's sleep. We never knew how she did it."
Mrs. Buchhardt also found time to let loose in her 1964 dark-blue Plymouth Fury with her co-workers when they got off work, according to Mrs. Westerman.
"They used to race from Northern Parkway down to Falls Road - in their nurses uniforms," Mrs. Westerman said. "They were wild."
Mrs. Buchhardt's other passion was her love of the Baltimore Orioles, according to Mrs. McFarland, who recalled hearing her mother shouting at the radio while listening to games.
"We didn't have a lot of money, so we didn't go to a lot of games ... but we could hear her screaming 'Atta boy!'" Mrs. McFarland said. "She would scream until she couldn't talk."
It was her love of baseball that led her children to recruit William "Wild Bill" Hagy to speak at her retirement dinner in 1982.
"He did a little cheer for her," Mrs. McFarland said with a laugh.
To celebrate Mother's Day 2003, Mrs. Buchhardt's family brought her to an Orioles game. And even though she was in a wheelchair, she enjoyed the gift, according to Mrs. McFarland.
"She loved them so much," she said.
Mrs. Buchhardt's funeral was held Saturday.
In addition to her two daughters, survivors include three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A son, Bruce Buchhardt, died in 2003.