Rural – StoryCorps
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“I Want to be Remembered as a Person Who Cared”: A 93-Year-Old Retired Nurse Looks Back on Her Service

Ruth Owens has lived her whole life in the mountains of rural Tennessee. She worked as a nurse in the area for over four decades, eventually retiring when she was 85 years old.

Now 93, she sat down at StoryCorps with her grandson, James Taylor, who, along with several of her kids and grandkids, followed in Ruth’s footsteps to become a nurse. 

They begin by talking about Ruth’s childhood in the late 1930s and how she eventually found her calling. 

Photo: Ruth Owens with her grandson, James Taylor, in April of 2019 at their StoryCorps recording in Cookeville, TN. Photo by Rochelle Hoi-Yiu Kwan for StoryCorps.

Originally aired March 20, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

This interview was recorded in partnership with Independent Lens and WCTE as part of a project to record stories about health and access to care in rural communities.