Margaret Anna Stutsman

1913 - 2012

Korean WarWWII

Their Story

Margaret Anna “Maggie” Stutsman was born on December 7, 1913, in Muscatine, Iowa to James and Mary (McFadden) McCarty.[1] After graduating high school, she attended the Mercy School of Nursing in Davenport, Iowa.[2] She continued her career by serving as a nurse in the US Navy in both World War II and the Korean War.[3] Her service during WWII took her to several Pacific tours of duty including assignments in Guam and Japan.

Nurses of the U.S. Navy nurses were on duty during the initial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Kāneʻohe Bay, the Philippines, Guam, jumped into action, treating the first casualties and preventing further loss of life and limb.[4] Only 1700 nurses, both active duty and reserve combined, were serving at the start of the U.S. involvement in World War II, however there were over 11,000 by peak strength in 1945.[5] The Navy nurses were scattered across six continents, serving at naval hospitals, aboard hospital ships, and in the field.[6]

Navy Nurses in the Pacific, c1945 (photo courtesy of the US Navy, public domain)

The nursing profession’s vital role was quickly recognized, and it became the only women’s profession that was deemed so essential as to be placed under the War Manpower Commission. The United States Navy Nurse Corps was officially established by Congress in 1908; however, unofficially, women had been working as nurses aboard Navy ships and in Navy hospitals for nearly 100 years.[7] The Corps was all-female until 1965.

After the end of World War II, Stutsman remained in the Naval Reserve.[8] The Navy Nurse Corps expanded its ranks by recalling Reserve nurses with World War II experience[9] – Stutsman was called up to active duty in 1951 in the Korean War. She rose to the rank of Lieutenant and was honorably discharged in 1954.[10]

She married Carl Stutsman in November 1955 and took up residence in Rock Island, Illinois.[11] Maggie Stutsman was one of a handful of people, including husband Carl, who developed the Rock Island County Council on Addictions (RICCA) in the 1960’s. They created the Beacon House program for men. In 1977, the New Hope Lodge for women, the first of its kind in Illinois, was opened. In 1992, it was renovated and renamed “The Margaret Stutsman Lodge” in her honor.[12]

Over the years, Stutsman supported the St. Ambrose University health care professions and a summer program for children with disabilities.[13] In 2002 she was named the Citizen of the Year in Rock Island for her many years of volunteering and philanthropy. She passed away in Rock Island on February 1, 2012, at the age of 98. She was interred in burial at the National Cemetery at Rock Island Arsenal on February 8, 2012.[14]


[1] The Rock Island Argus

[2] The Dispatch

[3] The Rock Island Argus

[4] Women of World War II

[5] Wikipedia, US Navy Nurse Corps

[6] Women of World War II

[7] Wikipedia, US Navy Nurse Corps

[8] The Dispatch

[9] Women in the Navy, Korean War

[10] The Rock Island Argus

[11] The Rock Island Argus

[12] The Dispatch

[13] The Dispatch

[14] The Rock Island Argus

[15] National Archives