By Max Hrenda
Marjorie Luc might have held more titles in her nursing career than other people have in their entire work history.
Staff nurse, occupational health nurse, director of nursing, teacher, assistant professor, associate director and interim executive director of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing are just a few of the positions she held.
Though her nursing career would reach great heights, her most memorable time might have been when that career first started, as she treated wounded soldiers during World War II in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
“I was truly blessed to be able to take care of those men,” Luc said. “I really enjoyed my experience, and wouldn’t take anything for it.”
Although the time she spent in the Army may have been the most rewarding of her nursing career, it wasn’t her inspiration. Luc said she knew she wanted to be a nurse before the U.S. officially joined the Allied Forces after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“I wanted to be a nurse since I was a young teenager,” Luc said.
Although she was born in Elizabethton, Luc moved to Detroit when she was 5 years old, only to relocate to Frederick House in northern Ontario, Canada, two years later.
After spending most of her childhood in Canada, Luc returned to Elizabethton in 1937, and would go on to graduate from Happy Valley High School in 1938. Luc spent her first year of post-secondary education at Milligan College before convincing her parents to pay her way into nursing school at Appalachian Hospital in Johnson City.
“After I finished, I was going to head back to Canada and enlist up there, because I had a lot of friends in the (Canadian Military) service,” Luc said. “But, by that time, we were in the war. So two of my classmates and I went downtown and signed up through the Red Cross.”
Although Luc would eventually spend her military service in the Army, she initially volunteered for the Navy.
“I really wanted to go into the Navy, but I couldn’t pass the physical,” Luc said. “They thought I had a little heart murmur. So then I signed up for the Army, but I had to sign three waivers. I was too short, I wasn’t tall enough, I weighed 98 pounds then, and I wore glasses.
”While I was waiting for my Army orders, I was working in Elizabethton at the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.”