Ursuline Markowski Brunnemann Inducted 2010 - Class of 1940
Ursuline Mary Markowski was born on a very cold and snowy morning. Her birth arrived at the very same moment that her father, imagining the worst, woke the sleepy pastor of St. Hedwig Church and demanded that his newborn daughter be baptized without delay. By the shadow of the baptismal font and with the urgings of the priest, her Christian name became Ursuline after the order of nuns, with Mary added for good measure.
Her neighborhood friends on Bronson decided that Ursuline could be shortened to Urs, and together they attended Our Lady of Lourdes on Hill Avenue their first three grades to learn Polish. After mastering the intricacies of Polish, Urs's father had a change in heart and sent her to Martin School to learn English. With no high school in Adams Township, Urs chose DeVilbiss for her freshman year and transferred to Woodward when her sister, Florence, graduated from Martin.
Considered a farm kid by her peers and with the nickname of Urs, Woodward was a
transformational period in her life and one that she treasures to this day. The memories of the noon movies in the darkened auditorium with a brown bag lunch still bring a smile to her face. The women of the Class of 1940 were basically limited in their career choices, but Woodward's physics, chemistry, and science teachers opened worlds in science that weren't limited to that of secretary, teacher, or nurse. George Rohrer, a young debonair French teacher, took his students on spellbinding mental tours of Notre Dame de Paris, the Left Bank, the River Seine, and French cuisine.
The Class of 1940 entered the adult world after the attack on Pearl Harbor and, with her training as a surgical nurse at Toledo's Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, Urs volunteered and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the army and shipped to a military hospital in England. Since Urs was proficient in English, Polish, and French, she was assigned to a medical group headed by her future husband, Captain Auben Brunnemann. They landed on a bombarded beach in France from a LST. Their assignment was to travel behind the advancing GIs establishing field hospitals. Her Polish language skills came to the forefront as their unit pushed deeper into Germany and the Holocaust victims.
Captain Brunnemann's nickname for Urs was Suzie Q. They were married in a Napoleon Stable-Cum-Chapel accompanied by a G.I. playing an old accordion and howling If You Knew Suzie. Like I Knew Suzie. So when you see her tonight call her Suzie, the name that has stuck with her to this day.
After Suzie left the military, she became a stay-at-home Mom for her two sons. She has put her nursing skills to good use as a Red Cross Volunteer Nurse from 1946 to the present. Her work in various medical capacities has taken her to Tripoli; North Africa; Texas; Florida; and Ohio. She is also a member of the Women’s Overseas Service League, Army Nurse Corps Association, and a Charter member of Women's Memorial. Suzie is one ole' soldier who never faded away.
Suzie was widowed after over 40 years of marriage. She has two married sons, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. From her home in San Antonio, Texas, she enjoys reading, international cooking, and traveling.
After learning of her selection to the Woodward Hall of Fame, Suzie commented, "I was completely awed and speechless for the first time in my life. Then, thinking of the struggles and the sacrifices of our immigrant parents since the snowy morning I was born, through the Great Depression and WWII; not living to see this day brought me to tears, which I seldom do."