Esther Elizabeth McCoin (Kempf) was born in Alpena, SD on Dec 12, 1925. She graduated high school in May 1943 and entered the Dakota Weslyn Nursing Program two weeks later, where she completed the prerequisite training. She began a 6-month probationary period with the local Methodist hospital and then graduated to the coveted white uniforms with cap, lit the candle lamp and recited the Florence Nightingale pledge. Official nursing training had begun! Esther joined the Cadet Nurse Corps once it was offered with the Methodist hospital. At that time, WWII had begun, and nurses were desperately needed. The Cadet Nurse Corps covered tuition, books, uniforms and paid $20/month!
Esther stayed with Cadet Nurse Corps until graduation in Spring 1946 and then continued working for the Methodist hospital in Mitchell, SD. After marrying her husband Don McCoin, an active-duty Navy motor machinist, in August 1947, they moved to Seattle where she worked as a nurse at Renton Hospital until their daughter, Linda, was born in January 1949. A few years later, Don, Esther and Linda moved to Fayetteville, AR where Esther went back to work at the local hospital for a short time. In 1950 they moved to Denver, CO and Esther continued working as a nurse at the Rocky Mountain hospital and doctors’ office. Don and Esther had two more sons while they lived in Denver, Tracy in February 1952, and Joel in March 1955.
In 1972, Don and Esther left the busy city life of Denver and moved to Eads, CO in 1972. Esther worked at Weisbrod Hospital from 1972 to 1980 and then served in her final nursing role as the Kiowa county nurse until 1990.
Esther’s favorite job in her nursing career was working in Denver doctor’s office. The office consisted of two doctors and two nurses. Esther says is was like working with family, in a good way, haha!
Esther’s favorite parts of being county nurse was when she provided flu vaccine clinics and well-child clinics for county residents that were not able to get into town for health care. The opportunity allowed her to become acquainted with everyone in the county and she worked with the county doctor to make significant improvements in countless county residents lives.
Over Esther’s 44 years nursing career she took the Florence Nightingale nursing pledge to heart with each one of her patients.