Commander AGNES FLORENCE MCAMIS CRNA, USNR (Nurse Corp) Retired

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday 29 May 2020, two days before my seventy-fifty birthday I went to my Heavenly home to be with my Mom and Dad and younger brother Larry. I was fortunate to leave from my earthly home of thirty-seven years in Lenexa, Kansas, with my husband holding my hand.

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, 1 June 1945 to Christopher and Agnes (Jurgens) Kaepplinger.  I was the first of five children, three brothers and a sister.  After I graduated from Saint Scholastica in 1963, I was accepted into Cook County School of Nursing and received my RN 1966, and I was commissioned in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps as an Ensign. 

I was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Hospital and I was honored to treat the Marines wounded during the Tet offensive of 1968.  What a wonderful and brave group of young men, sadly, they did not receive the support and gratitude from the country they deserved. 

1969, I was transferred to the USNH at Yokosuka, Japan.  Being adventurous I had my 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass shipped to Japan and rented a small house on Tokyo Bay instead of living in the nurse’s quarters.  One of my Japanese neighbors, an older gent, whom I’m sure was a veteran of WW2, would often urinate on one of the tires of my car. Since the Japanese drive on the opposite side of the road it was always exciting driving to and from the hospital and around Tokyo. 

I was a charge nurse on the orthopedic ward and all the patients were wounded Marines from Vietnam.  I was strict with the patients but took good care of them. One of my proudest moments was when a group of them formed up in front of my nurses’ station in their pajamas, on crutches or had their arms in slings, those bedridden looked on.   Sargent Visconti bellowed, “Attention on deck!  Miss K, the Marines of ward seven present you with this Drill Instructor cover making you an honorary DI!”  That meant more to me than any other honor I could ever receive. That is quite a compliment from a group of combat hardened Marines. I cherish that DI cover and still have it.

As fate would have it, in August of 1970, a Marine helicopter pilot was medevacked from Vietnam. He had some how arranged to get sent to Yokosuka when casualties were supposed to go to Guam.  That meant he was the only patient on the Sick Officer’s Quarters.  He was an ambulatory patient and I saw him in the officer’s mess in his blue hospital pajamas and he kept glancing at me.  Since I was the charge nurse for the hospital, when I made my rounds on the SOQ, I asked the corpsman on the ward, “Who is the jerk that kept looking at me in the officers mess?” He replied, “That has got to be First Lieutenant McAmis, he arrived this morning from Vietnam.” I checked his chart for marital status and any social diseases, he was clear on both accounts.  When I closed his chart, I looked up and he was standing at the door of the nurse’s station with just his pajama bottoms on and arms spread on the door frame.  He was tan, had blue eyes and the biggest smile.  I said to myself, “Oh shit!”  It was the typical war time love story.  Handsome Marine Aviator meets beautiful Navy Nurse and the rest is history, as they say.

By December of 1970 we were both stationed on the West Coast.  He was at MCAS Santa Ana flying CH-46 helicopters and I was at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.  29 Jan 1972, we had a military wedding at the Ranch House Chapel at Camp Pendleton. Six weeks later we had orders to Pensacola, Florida.  I was stationed at the Naval Hospital and he was a primary flight instructor.  What a wonderful eighteen months.  It went by too fast.  He was accepted to UMKC Dental School and resigned his commission as a Captain in the Marine Corps and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy.  I worked for a year at the KC Veterans Hospital then was accepted to the anesthesia program at Kansas University Medical Center receiving a CRNA in January, 1977.

When Ron graduated in June, 1977, he was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station and I went to work at Evanston Hospital doing what I loved, anesthesia.  In 1979 Ron was stationed on Okinawa for a year.  He arrived home the middle of 1980 and nine months later our son Conor was born.  What a delight he was and no trouble at all and a good thing.  Ron was gone, off and on, for the next six years. First, when Conor was eight months old, it was ten months at Command and Staff College at Quantico, then three years of oral maxillofacial residency in Kansas City and then two years on an aircraft carrier, so I was pretty much a single mom and working full time.  When Ron returned from the carrier in 1987, he received orders to the Naval Hospital at Beaufort, South Carolina.  I went back on active duty and we worked together, I would give anesthesia for his surgical cases.  It was our best duty station and Conor finally got to know his dad.

Ron retired from the Navy as a Commander Dental Corps November 1989, and we returned to Lenexa, Kansas, where he went into private practice and I worked at Baptist Hospital. Less than a year later the first Desert Storm took place and I was recalled to active duty at Norfolk Naval Hospital for seven months.  For Ron, the shoe was on the other foot and he got a taste of what I had gone through for six years.

I retired from the reserves in 2000 and went on to work as a locum in anesthesia and had a license in twelve different states. Life goes by too quickly and I retired from anesthesia in 2010. In 2011 something cruel and unrelenting began to steal my life away.  Alzheimer’s disease began to slowly erase my ability to do the things I enjoyed; cooking, sewing, cross stich, gardening and reading. Before too long I couldn’t read, write or drive a car.  The worst is when it began erasing all my memories.  It took away all I ever was or ever would be.  I did not know my brothers and sister and even worse I did not know my husband of forty-eight years or my son who was the light of my life.  It was my faith in God that helped me with this awful disease and I often prayed to God to just let me go to sleep and not wake up.  I wanted to die and go home and see my Mom and Dad.

God works in mysterious ways and he granted my wish, but not like I wanted.  I would have preferred an old-fashioned heart attack but instead, 22 April, 2020, I was diagnosed with an aggressive, large B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage four and given only a few weeks to live.  Chemo and radiation treatment were not an option for me.  Not a great way to go but much quicker than the slow, lingering, undignified death by Alzheimer’s, locked away in a “memory care unit”.  Through it all Ron stayed by my side, took care of me and kept me at home to the end with the help of Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care.  The one thing I never forgot was how much I loved him.  I didn’t know who he was or his name but I would often tell him I loved him, give him a hug and thank him for taking care of me.  I would tell him “You are a good guy.” I think he got more than he bargained for when he said “for better or worse,” but I know he loves me. He held my hand until my last breath at 0245.

Private family services will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Lenexa, Kansas.  Cremation and arrangements by Amos funeral home.  Ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.  I leave behind my husband Ron, son Conor, daughter-in-law Jena, granddaughter Alia, two brothers, Chris and Allen and my sister Roberta Sanderson.  

I leave you with one last thought.  High in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado is an abandoned graveyard with a lone headstone of a seventeen-year-old girl who died in the late 1800s. The inscription reads:

                                          My dear people as you pass by,

                                          As you are now, so once was I.

                                          As I am now you soon must be,

                                         Prepare yourselves to follow me.

Commander A.F. McAmis was awarded the National Defense Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Commendation, Marksman Rifle Ribbon and of course the Honorary DI Award. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Beret College in 1980.

And now, as we all must do; I fade into the mist of time.

Flo McAmis


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Posted in Kansas City Obituaries, Obituaries | on Friday, May. 29th 2020 | 20 Comments »

20 Comments on “Commander AGNES FLORENCE MCAMIS CRNA, USNR (Nurse Corp) Retired”

  1. Richard Fatout Says:

    Frist R.I.P. Thank you for your service-RF This is one of the best Obituary I have read in a long time. So whoever wrote this Thank you.

    If there is such a thing as a good one you did it. Bless you…..

  2. Robert Mills Says:

    A life well lived. USAF

  3. Bob & Marty Hamilton Says:

    Ron,
    Our prayers to you and your family. That is a beautiful write up for a beautiful lady. Stay strong. S/F
    Bob & Marty Hamilton

  4. Carl Kent Says:

    Sadly, shocked to see Flo’s name this morning in the Obits..
    While I have not seen Ron or Flo in many years, the memories
    are as if it was yesterday. Flo was beautiful both on the
    outside and inside. She was a real elegant lady. It was a
    pleasure to read the obit narrative. What a great story befitting a great couple. A sad ending after 48 years. Ron
    remained a loyal and loving partner true to form. The Obit
    is testimony to the character of two very nice people who
    contributed greatly to our country and to each other. God speed Flo….Carl Kent

  5. Karen Graybill Says:

    I worked with Flo at Baptist medical center many years ago. I even had one of her son’s African Fat tailed Geckos as a pet. This obituary is one of the most interesting I have ever read. As a fellow CRNA I admire her amazing career. I loved all the stories about her service too. I wish her family peace. Karen

  6. Joel Feder Says:

    It was my privilege and honor to serve with Flo in the United States Naval Reserve for many years. I have never known a more professional, kind, and loyal person as Flo. Randi and I will forever miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ron, Conor and Family.
    Randi and Joel Feder

  7. Janine Elias Says:

    I worked with Flo at the University of Kansas Medical Center during the time she did her CRNA education. We became good friends during that period of time. I talked to her once after the birth of her son and she was so thrilled. I always remembered her even though our lives took us to different parts of the world. She loved her family and you could see that as she wrote her goodbye. God Bless and keep you Flo. I look forward to seeing you again one day. My condolences to her beloved family.
    Janine Elias

  8. Janine Elias Says:

    I worked with Flo at the University of Kansas Medical Center during the time she did her CRNA education. We became good friends.
    I talked to her once after the birth of her son and she was so thrilled. I always remembered her even though our lives took us to different parts of the world. She loved her family and you could see that as she wrote her goodbye. God Bless and keep you Flo. I look forward to seeing you again one day. My condolences to her beloved family.
    Janine Elias

  9. Sandy Register Says:

    I didn’t know Mrs.McAmis but I saw a Nurse with a beautiful smile and wanted to know her story. After reading one of the most beautiful obituaries I feel I do know her a little. She lived a great life had many adventures with her Husband and Son until her identity was stolen from her by the most terrible disease, Alzheimer’s! I hope she didn’t suffer too much at the end and she was fortunate to have such a loving, supportive family. My heartfelt Sympathies.

  10. Sandy McQueary Says:

    Dr. Ron, I am so very sorry for your tremendous loss!!!
    Flo was a tremendous CRNA. Much to young to lose her life.
    The obituary is so well written. I didn’t know about her military career.
    I send you and your entire family my condolence. May our Dear Lord give you comfort in this most sad time.
    ( I am the former Sandy Markle). The times I worked with you Doctor at Truman were very memorable. I loved working with you. I knew that when I was on call with you, to hold on to my horses. Because we were going to work very hard!!! But, we got a lot of great experience.
    May God bless you and your family,
    Sincerely, Sandy

  11. Sherry Hugi Says:

    Flo and I worked together for many years. Never a dull moment! In anesthesia the memories are good and bad, but always entertaining! Flo was a great CRNA and nurse. Ron and Conor and wife my thoughts and prayers are with you. Great obituary. Knowing Flo I expected nothing less.

  12. Bruce Barker Says:

    Ron, I grieve for you and all the medical issues in the later years of her life. As you and I have talked over the years we have to dwell on all the good times we have celebrated in our relationships and be thankful for the time together. I love the Colorado grave stone message and I believe Gerry and I have visited that same place near Crested Butte but missed that beautiful inscription. Thank you , God Bless and hope to see you again soon.
    Bruce

  13. Shelley morphew Says:

    What a storybook life! I too am a nurse and wanted to read about this woman’s story. I am sorry for your loss.. I could only aspire to be as grand as she in life! Thank you for writing this so eloquently. Well done, you!

  14. Dr. Steven P. Rubczak, COL/USA Retired Says:

    May God Bless Flo, may our Mother Mary Immaculate intercede on her behalf, and may Jesus take her into His arms and lead Flo into Heaven where she waits for you Ron. I did not ever meet Flo but have always heard the most amazing stories concerning her loving, caring, and compassionate lifestyle and career as a Registered Nurse, AD US Naval Officer, loving Mother, and devoted and loving wife. Flo’s story of her life and her sad parting is exactly what I experienced with my own loving wife, Ellyn. It seems as if they were kindred spirits and well as myself and Ron. Their pain and suffering has ended as they both join with Christ Himself into eternal life with Him in heaven. I pray for her with Holy Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets and look forward to meeting her in Heaven along with again joining with my own sweet and loving wife Ellyn. Be strong Ron and we will survive this great loss together. Call any time. With the highest respect, your good friend and colleague, Steve.

  15. Karen Poe Says:

    I first met Flo and baby Conor when they moved to Whispering Hills in Lenexa. She was fun, impressive, and I liked her immediately. My deepest sympathy to Ron, Conor, and family.

    Karen Poe

  16. Patty McDaniel Says:

    Dr. McAmis- I remember you telling me stories about Flo, and she sounded like a wonderful woman. I’m so sorry to see she has passed; I never met her, but her obituary tells her story in such a beautiful way.
    I had the pleasure of finally meeting Conor at his store, since I now also live in Lenexa.

    You had such an influence on my work as a RN, and I still hold those practices today.

    Peace to you and your family.

    Patty (Limpic) McDaniel

  17. Kathryn Nugent Says:

    What a wonderful write-up about Flo. I was in awe of the great service she gave our Country and all the accomplishments she made.

    You and Conor will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Kathy & “Doc” Nugent

  18. Woody Gilliland Says:

    Ron,
    Thanks to Bob and Marty for providing the SA that took me to this amazing story. Sorry for your loss, a life well lived! S/F Woody Gilliland

  19. Donna Reed Says:

    Dr McAmis, so sorry to hear of Flo’s passing. What a beautiful tribute! I worked with Foo briefly many years ago in my own nursing days. She was a confident,intelligent and stabilizing presence to those who were privileged to have worked with her.
    Thank you, Flo, for your service to your fellow workers, your fellow men and women, and to our country. You will be missed!

  20. HMM-262 Combat Helicopter Association Says:

    Mac,

    On behalf of the Old Tigers of HMM-262, please accept our most sincere condolences. We consider Flo as “One of Our Own” so in some small way we share your loss.

    REST IN PEACE FLO…

    Semper Fidelis

    “The Old Tigers”

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