Olive Anna Tezla
Olive Anna Tezla died Tuesday, January 15, 2002, of a stroke in St. Mary's Hospice after a long illness with a congestive heart. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, September 2nd, 1910, to Dr. Paul Fox, a Presbyterian minister, and Rosa Olive Cobb, a high school history teacher. She moved to Chicago with her family when her father became Director of Laird Community House. By the time she was fourteen she was assisting her father as a counselor to mothers and their children in their activities at the community house and summer camps. She graduated from Carl Schurz High School and Wright Junior College. She obtained a nursing diploma from the Evanston (Illinois) School of Nursing and then financed her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in American Constitutional Law at Northwestern University by working as a Private Duty Nurse in Evanston. Upon receiving the degree she secured a position at Billings Hospital, the University of Chicago, in the fall of 1938, first in surgery and then in pyschiatry, under Dr. Charlotte Babcock, to obtain a Master's Degree in Medical Social Service at the university. She met her husband-to-be at the hospital when he became her patient after he underwent emergency surgery for appendicitis in January 1939. They were married in 1941 after he was awarded a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. After marriage she was employed as an Industrial Nurse until her husband entered the Navy in 1942 and joined his ship in the Southwest Pacific in 1943; she then went to work for the American Red Cross Blood Bank in Chicago. She found and furnished an apartment near the University of Chicago, so that he could begin a doctoral program in English as soon as the war was over, and also gave birth to their firstborn, a son, while he was engaged in the Pacific campaing with the Fifth Fleet. Discharged in 1946, he entered that program. She gave birth to their second child, a daughter, in 1947. When she came to Duluth with her family in 1949, where her husband became a member of the UMD English Department, she quickly expressed her professional interests. She worked for a time as a caseworker for the Ordean Charities and then for many years as a regular part-time nurse at St. Luke's Hospital, where she soon joined the Pyschiatric Unit and among her other contributions, established Occupational Therapy as treatment, and closed out her career as an instructor in psychiatric nursing in the hospital's School of Nursing. She was a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association, League of Women Voters, the UMD Womens Club, and Lester Park Book Club. Over decades she served splendid buffet suppers to hundreds of her husband's students at parties she gave them in their home. She sustained a home life for her family during long residences in Vienna, Budapest and London, and she first provided a home for her father for ten years and then her mother-in-law for twenty. Her commitments are mirrored in the volunteer work she performed during her retirement years: The Northwood Children's Services, Glensheen, and above all, Tweed Museum, where she also served as its Historian. Preceding her in death were her parents, her twin brother, Paul, her sister, Helen; her brother, John. Survivors include her husband, Albert (``Bill''); a son, Michael William (Janet Oliver); a daughter, Kathy Elaine; step-grandson, Bryan Smith. The funeral service is private. Arrangements by Crawford Funeral Services. A memorial celebration of Olive's life will be held in the near future. A gift to the Olive Anna Tezla Scholarship Fund, School of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth is suggested in lieu of flowers.
Published on January 27, 2002
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