Twins Marian Boyer and Millie Dost, who served as nurses during World War II, are turning 100 on Nov. 22.
“We saw a lot of amputations and hernia operations for the guys coming back from the Pacific,” said Marian Boyer in a phone interview. She served as a Navy surgical nurse in Virginia, California and Hawaii during the final two years of the war.
Marian’s sister Millie, who is in the medical unit at Westminster Manor and was unable to take part in a phone interview, served as an Army nurse at Fort Knox, Ky. In a 2012 interview, Millie said she had never worked with paraplegics before joining the Army. During the war, she would see many of them.
The sisters got their nursing training at Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland. Marian became a nurse because she wanted to become a flight attendant, a prerequisite in those days. But when the airlines stopped taking applications for stewardesses, as they were called then, because of the war, she volunteered for the Navy.
Millie applied to be an Army nurse, but was turned down six times because of injuries suffered when she was 9. She incurred her injuries when a wrong-way driver struck their car head-on.
“Millie had a window open and she went flying out,” Marian said. Doctors didn’t think the young girl would survive, and if she did, she would never be able to have children.
“She fooled everyone,” Marian said. Not only did Millie survive, she married, had three children, several grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.
On Millie’s seventh time applying for Army duty, she was accepted.
For most of their working careers after the war, Millie lived in Cleveland, and Marian lived in New Jersey where she owned a small nursing home. Before her retirement, Marian worked for about a decade at Manatee Memorial Hospital. Both sisters stayed active with volunteer work into their 90s.
“When you are use to being busy, you don’t enjoy being idle,” Marian said.
The sisters have lived at Westminster Manor for about 10 years.
In 2012, they were part of an Honor Flight to Washington D. C. to visit the World War II Memorial.
Marian called her World War II service a highlight of her life, and added the pandemic that the world is struggling with will also pass.
“I never thought I would live to be 100. You have to adapt to life,” she said.
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