Lucile, 89, from Holland, Michigan, is a sweet and caring woman. She graduated from school in 1942, right in the midst of the Great Depression. Her dream was to become a nurse. However, there wasn’t much money available and her mother believed another path would be more suitable for her. Instead, she devoted most of her life being a Gray Lady, volunteering at several hospitals and older adult centers. Turning her career into volunteering, she always felt very useful, wanted and appreciated. Lucile was a caregiver to her husband and daughter. She stuck by her husband’s side every single day during the crucial five years he was battling Lymphoma cancer. She retired from the Gray Ladies at the age of 82, but she still continues to actively help out in her community with positive outlook on life.
The most tremendous obstacle she has had to overcome was the death of her father who passed away at the age of 55. Being his only daughter, she spent so much time with him, and she often reminisces about when he would sing her songs from World War One during car rides. Her father was a part of the Polar Bear Expedition during World War One, which is more commonly known as the Northern Russian Expedition. The expedition was a contingent of about 5,000 US troops that landed in Russia as part of the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War and fought the Red Army in the surrounding region during 1918 and 1919. This expedition was sent to Russia by US President Woodrow Wilson in response to requests from the governments of Great Britain and France to join the Allied Intervention in North Russia.
Her mother and father were married for barely two weeks before he was shipped out. He thought he was being taken to France but instead he was taken to Russia. The troops thought by taking soldiers from Michigan they would be used to the cold. She and her father were so close, he even had offered to pay for her to stay at home so she would be close to him but she didn’t stay. She lived 25 miles away but still came home every weekend. She hadn’t learned much about her father’s history until her later years. It has become something talked about more and recently PBS developed a movie on the subject. It would mean a lot to her to see the memorial she only learned existed recently.
On October 23, 2013, Lucile’s Wish of a Lifetime came true. She had a fabulous time and couldn’t have imagined it could go any differently. She said the driver treated her and Thelma like Queens. She couldn’t find words to thank us, but assured us that her wish was truly a day she would never forget.