December 24, 2020
Wilma Lynette Gorley Schulz, the firstborn and second child of Robert Mayfield and Zella “Lucile” Nelson, was born at the family home in Golden, Colo., on Oct. 18, 1921. The family moved to Carlsbad, N.M., in 1924, where Wilma started to school.
After the death of her father, her mother moved her family to Curtis, Neb. While there, Lucile met her future husband, Joseph Ralph Burns.
Following their marriage, they relocated to Carlsbad, but eventually returned to Curtis.
February, 1939, the family met with the untimely death of Wilma’s mother. This event fractured the family unit and resulted in the three children who were still at home to be taken in by different relatives.
Wilma found a home with her paternal uncle and aunt, Joe and Ella Gorley. She remained at Curtis where she graduated from the Nebraska School of Agriculture High School in 1940.
After graduation, Wilma found employment as a nurse’s aide at Lincoln General Hospital. In September 1941, she entered the Mary Lanning School of Nursing, and graduated in September, 1944. It was during this time she volunteered to join the Army’s Cadet Nursing Program and following her graduation was mustered into the U. S. Army Nurse Corps in November 1944 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Following basic training at Camp Carson, Colo., Wilma cared for injured soldiers at Fitzsimmon Hospital in Denver until March 1945 when she left to serve in the Pacific Theatre. Wilma was one of seven nurses who were mistakenly dropped off at Hiroshima following the atomic bomb attack. The group of young women was immediately met by armed military police who announced the area was off limits and they would need to leave. However, the plane had only landed long enough to drop off the nurses and their foot lockers so no options were left for their departure. Left with no orders and no immediate prospects for a hospital to be set up, the group spent some of their idle hours by scavenging for intact objects. Their only “find” was a small bowl with a chip. They were allowed to wait for the arrival of their M.A.S.H unit on a small nearby island.
Luckily, none of the group manifested any of the ill effects that were associated with the aftermath. Attending Hirohito’s trial and hearing of the atrocities he chose to commit to not only his enemy, but also his own people, brought tears every time she shared this experience.
Wilma was introduced to Elmer Schulz at a dance in Blue Hill. They were married at the Methodist Church in Curtis, Neb., on Oct. 6, 1946. They settled in Blue Hill. Wilma continued pursuing her career in nursing. Working as an OB nurse during the “baby boom,” she witnessed the use of empty
drawers to compensate for the lack of cribs and was working when the explosions occurred at the Hastings Ammunition Depot.
Two sons, Michael Harold in 1949 and Robert Allen in 1953, completed their family. With the advent of the Blue Hill Medical Clinic Wilma was afforded the opportunity to continue her career while also serving her community. She also worked at the Webster County Hospital as a surgical and floor nurse for many years. She continued her career in nursing until age 79.
Elmer died in July of 1998. She remained in the home she and Elmer had built in 1949 until September of 2019 when she suffered a broken hip. She then chose to become a resident of Heritage Home at Red Cloud.
Wilma died Dec. 11, 2020.
Interment was at the Blue Hill Cemetery.