In Memoriam: Marian Waterhouse, CRNA, COL, USA (1922-2019)

  • Aug 11, 2019

Colonel Marian Waterhouse, U.S. Army Nurse Corps, retired, passed away peacefully at the age of 97, on July 30, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas.  COL Waterhouse was born on July 6, 1922, in Chicago, Ill. She graduated from Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing in 1945; and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education from the University of Minnesota in 1955. She then completed a Masters of Education Degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, in 1958.

After graduation from Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing, COL Waterhouse fulfilled her long-held goal of joining the Army Nurse Corps in 1945 toward the end of WWII. She was Commissioned as a 2nd LT and assigned to basic officer training at Ft. MA, April 1945. She was assigned  to the 300th General Hospital in Naples, Italy, in Dec 1945. After nearly two years in a variety of assignments and positions in Europe, Marian applied for the 13-month nurse anesthesia certificate program at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

As a nurse anesthetist, COL Waterhouse served at many duty stations, which included: Italy, Korea, two tours in Germany; and numerous assignments in the United States. She was always interested in teaching, which ultimately led to her post-graduate degrees in nursing education. 

She became the program director of the Army’s Nurse Anesthesia Certificate Program at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, Denver, Colo., in the mid 1960s; and eventually became the overall program director for both the didactic and the five clinical sites. COL Waterhouse, along with other prominent Army nurse anesthetists, were instrumental in reorganizing the Army Nurse Corps anesthesia certificate program. This reorganization revolutionized the education of nurse anesthetists, not only in the U.S. Army, but also in the other branches of the military, as well as civilian nurse anesthesia programs.  This reorganization provided the initial foundation and framework that allows today’s U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing to grant a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia degree.

During her 30 years of military service, COL Waterhouse received multiple military awards, including the Legion of Merit.

COL Waterhouse retired from the U.S. Army in 1975, and moved to San Diego, Calif., to care for her aging parents. Following their deaths, she returned to San Antonio, where many fellow Army Nurse Corps friends also resided. She continued to stay very active as a volunteer for Sisters Care, working with their medical records for over 15 years. 

She was a devoted and faithful member of the community of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church for over 30 years. Marian touched the lives of many, both military and civilian, in her long lifetime. Her warm smile, keen mind, her many stories and sense of humor will be missed by all who knew her.

Internment at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery with full military honors will follow a funeral Mass and reception at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church.

Obituary written by John Sherner, CRNA, COL(ret); and Terri Washburn, LTC(ret).