Last Baby Born at St. Francis

The photo caption in The Missourian June 21, 1966, read,Their First, Ward’s Last. In these record-conscious days when everyone’s attention is focused on superlatives, it was perhaps ironic that St. Francis Hospital here was the scene of a first and a last this week. Sandra Louise, the first child of Mr. and Mrs. Larry Essner, was born – appropriately enough – on Father’s Day, Sunday, just in time to be the last baby to be born in the hospital’s maternity ward before it closed Monday night at midnight. Mr. and Mrs. Essner live at 1409 Bloomfield.

Mother “thrilled” to beat deadline

Paraphrased from the story: Mrs. Essner, mother of the last child to be born in the maternity ward at the present St. Francis Hospital, said today that she was “thrilled” to make it to the hospital before the deadline. She gave birth to the 7-pound, 14-ounce girl on Father’s Day Sunday. She and her husband chose the name Sandra Lee for the child. [Editor’s note: I don’t know why the caption has the baby’s name as Sandra Louise, but the story says it is Sandra Lee.]

The maternity ward closed for admission Monday until the opening of the new hospital on Gordonville road. When Mrs. Essner is released, the section will be converted to use for intensive care and recovery.

Mrs. Essner is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Hopkins of Scott City. Her father is employed by the Marquette Cement Mfg. Co.

Mr. Essner is a teller at the First National Bank, 100 North Main. He has worked there for about 2-1/2 years. His family is from Chaffee.

St. Francis Hospital room number

Just before the old hospital was torn down, Son Matt and I took an “unofficial” tour of the place. Mother couldn’t remember what room number she was in when I was born, but based on her description of what she could see out the window, it’s possible that I was able to score the door tag.

The Herring Hall Marvin Safe Co. sign was from the West Palm Beach bank Wife Lila worked at when we first moved to Florida. The newspaper bought the building so we could expand our offices. Just before it was bulldozed, I snagged this sign off the bank vault.

11 Replies to “Last Baby Born at St. Francis”

  1. All I could focus on was how new-mom Mrs. Essner managed to get her hair so perfect for this photo! LOL

  2. Jane, I noticed the very same thing & the hairdo if not the new mom, I remember well. Ken, I think the hairdos of that period were Dippity Doed, left up on orange juice cans for 8-10 hours, teased, molded, & sealed over with lots of Aqua Net…now that’s tough !!!

    I might be mistaken, but the new building did not have a maternity ward until this past decade…I believe the new abortion law on the books might have had something to do with them giving up maternity, that & not wanting to do other ob procedures against the faith.

  3. That is so cool. I’ve known Larry and Mary like forever but never knew this story. I think the nurse looks like Mrs Trickey who was Susan Jacob class of 1963 Aunt. Susan’s mom was also a nurse. This is just so cool that you do this everyday Ken. Thanks so much!!!

    1. Yes that is my mother Lucille Trickey . I have a copy of that picture but this picture is so much better. I have the crib that was in the nursery. It was given to mother when they closed the department. Thank you for posting this article. Martha

  4. libbey was correct.the new st francis was up and running for years and years before a maternity ward was added. i thought it odd a catholic hospital didn’t have a maternity ward…but i just thought a plan was made with southeast hospital to be the baby center and st.francis to cover other areas such as trauma.since the new st francis was so close the I55.after a few years i quess both places were trying to squeeze every dollar they could out of any and all areas of care.

  5. Really neat photo of Mary & Sandy!! And look at those embroidered pillow cases. Things have changed a little.

  6. Margie, I did remember her… sort of. I told Ken that I knew these people were related to me, but I just couldn’t place them in the family. Now that you have shed light on the mystery, I know exactly who they are.

  7. Well I’m in search of the Photographers take took the baby photos at the St Francies hospital in 1966 of Jan and I’m trying to search for my baby pictures because the newer hospital has no nothing and sent me to a site and they replyed they don’t deal with that

    1. I’m sorry I can’t help you. That was probably the first and last baby picture I took at the hospital. I was there on a newspaper assignment, not as part of a company that did baby photos.

      My brother Mark was born in 1956, and he was photographed in the hospital by Nursery Indent0Foto of St. Louis. They were located at 6125 Bartmer, St. Louis 14, MO. A quick Google search turned up nothing. Since the photo says, “To reorder, call hospital, I’m afraid you may be out of luck.

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