In Memoriam: Louise H. Harrison, CRNA (1921-2018)

  • Mar 22, 2019

Louise H. Harrison, a retired Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and a former U.S. Army nurse during World War II, died in Norman, Okla., on Feb. 8, 2018, at the age of 96.

Her ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on March 18, 2019.

Louise was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and grew up on a farm as one of seven children. She completed high school and enrolled in nursing school at Easton Memorial Hospital. After receiving her R.N. licensure and a scholarship to study anesthesia at Duke University, which she could not accept because she was too young, Louise enlisted in the United States Army Nurse Corps on Jan. 5, 1943.

Following basic training, she was assigned to a hospital ship, which operated for the duration of World War II in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Her discharge record shows that she served in the Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland and Northern Apennines campaigns. She was awarded the American Campaign Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II victory Medal and the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque. She was honorably discharged as a 1st lieutenant in March 1946.

Louise received a scholarship to study anesthesia at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which she accepted. She took her training at Hopkins and received her certification as a nurse anesthetist. Following her military service, she returned to Easton Memorial Hospital in Easton, Md., where she worked for several decades as a nurse anesthetist. She also married E. Warner Marvel, and had two daughters, Paige Marvel, who presently resides in Baltimore, Md., and Vicki Marvel, who presently resides in Oklahoma City, Okla.

In approximately 1972, after her first husband died, Louise accepted a job as a nurse anesthetist in Norman, Okla., and moved to Oklahoma that year. Her boss, Dr. Richard E. Harrison, an anesthesiologist, eventually became her second husband. Dr. Harrison enlisted in the U.S. Navy in his 50s because the Navy needed doctors, and he and Louise embarked on a new military adventure that took them to Charleston, S.C., and Tulsa, Okla., among other places. After Dr. Harrison retired from the Navy, he and Louise retired to Norman, Okla.

Dr. Harrison died in 2007, and Louise continued to live alone in their home until recent hospitalizations forced her to move to a rehabilitation/assisted living facility in Norman, Okla., in the last month of her life.

Louise was a great raconteur, and she threw wonderful parties, including an annual Christmas Eve open house that people still remember. She was a formidable cook and baker who prepared a cookbook of favorite party recipes that is still one of her daughters’ prized possessions. Louise loved to dance to the music of the Big Bands during her military service and continued that love of dancing for most of her adult life.

Louise is survived by her daughters, a son-in-law, two grandchildren, and a number of nieces and nephews.

During the final years of her life, Louise was “adopted” by parishioners of Our Lady of Lebanon Marionite Catholic Church in Norman, Okla. They visited her, brought her food, provided transportation and helped with her care.

Memorial contributions in Louise’s memory may be made to Our Lady of Lebanon Church, 500 Alameda St., Norman, OK 73071, or to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (www.womensmemorial.org).

This memoriam appeared in The Democrat Star (Easton, Md.) on March 15, 2019.