Rose Conkity Wildermuth

1922 - 2001


Their Story

Rose Marie Conkity was born on March 13, 1922, in Davenport, Iowa, to Mike and Ann (Zelenka) Conkity. She graduated from Davenport High School in 1940. She then attended the nursing school at Mercy Hospital in Davenport, graduating in September 1943. Three months after graduating, Conkity took her nursing skills to the United States Army in order to aid her country in the fight against the Axis Powers in World War II. She was swiftly commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and sent to Europe.[1]

Rose Conkity helped save the lives of her fellow service members near the front lines. She served as a nurse in the 78th Field Hospital, which followed close behind the front lines in Germany to ensure soldiers had access to the “chain of evacuation.”[2] The goal of the chain of evacuation was to ensure a route whereby seriously wounded soldiers could be sent back from field hospitals to general hospitals farther from the front lines; from there they could receive more intensive care. From the second wounded soldiers were brought into field hospitals, the medical staff had to make numerous decisions to determine the care of the soldier, all while their hands operated on the men:

Litter bearers and ambulance drivers brought the wounded to field hospitals. Usually, 18 nurses were assigned to a field hospital, which could handle 75 to 150 patients. Doctors and nurses performed triage on patients at the field hospital receiving tent. These evaluations were of critical importance. The severity of a patient’s condition and the need for special treatment determined when, how, and where the patient was to be sent. Improper evacuation might result in the death of a patient from lack of immediate care. Those patients judged strong enough to travel were taken by ambulance to evacuation hospitals located farther away from the front lines and near transportation facilities. Nurses stabilized others with blood, plasma, medication, and dressings before sending them on. Patients who needed immediate care went directly into surgery. Those who needed surgery but were too weak for an immediate operation and could not travel were sent to the shock ward.[3]

In order to serve as a field nurse, particularly in the leadership role of an officer, Conkity had to display fast decision-making in order to ensure that troops got necessary care on a rapid timetable. During the period of Conkity’s service, 5,050,718 Army patients were admitted to overseas hospitals.[4] Given this statistic, it can be said that Conkity’s service was full of constant and stressful work, often with a soldier’s life hanging in the balance with naught but Conkity’s expertise to save him.

Following the Allied victory in the war, Conkity returned home to the Quad Cities area where she would spend the remainder of her life. She continued working as a nurse until retirement, first for John Deere, and then for the former Illinois State Hospital.[5] In 1949 she married Alvin L. Wildermuth, a member of her Lutheran church. The two connected while serving together on volunteer hosting duties for the church.[6] She was also active in her local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in East Moline. Rose Conkity Wildermuth passed away on September 7, 2001.[7] She leaves behind the legacy of hard, unceasing work in service to the lives and health of her comrades.



[1] “Rose Wildermuth,” The Dispatch, July 15, 2001, p. 6,

[2] “Rose Wildermuth,” The Dispatch, July 15, 2001, p. 6,; “WW2 Military Hospitals: European Theater of Operations,” WW2 US Medical Research Centre, accessed July 8, 2022,

[3] The Army Nurse Corps, accessed July 8, 2022,, 12.

[4] “WW2 Military Hospitals: European Theater of Operations,” WW2 US Medical Research Centre, accessed July 8, 2022,

[5] “Rose Wildermuth,” The Dispatch, July 15, 2001, p. 6,

[6] “Fellowship Club,” The Dispatch, January 31, 1949, p. 7,

[7] “Rose Wildermuth,” The Dispatch, July 15, 2001, p. 6,