Paying Tribute To

ENS S.M. Sophia (Bernick) Stubbs, Nu’63, GNu’65, Veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Sophia Stubbs was many things to many people. To her grandson Ray Stubbs, she was “GoGo.” To her colleagues at the Montgomery County Home Health Aid and Homemaker Service, she was the boss. And to the U.S. service members with amputations returning stateside during her four years as a Navy nurse in the Korean War, she was—among other things—a crochet instructor.

To everyone, though, she was an inspiration.

She joined the military shortly after receiving her diploma around 1949 and practiced as a surgical nurse at the Navy Hospital in Key West, FL, working side-by-side assisting the former 13th U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everette Koop, MD, with his surgeries. It was after this experience that spent four years providing nursing care to injured Korean War veterans, including her work of teaching them how to crochet as a diversion from their devastating, life-altering injuries, even going so far as to start a competition for the neatest crochet patterns.

Sophia met her husband—who also served in the military—at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, where she was transferred after the war.

Ray Stubbs, Jr., their son, notes, “My mother’s military service influenced her determination to get a BSN and MSN from Penn Nursing.” Sophia attended night school to complete her BSN and then enrolled full-time to complete her Masters in Nursing. “She was very focused on life and what needed to be done to help others,” Ray says.

Sophia’s life-long passion was nursing—and she utilized her education at Penn Nursing to make a difference. She began work at the Montgomery County Home Health Aid and Homemaker Service, at the time a newly formed organization that provided services beyond nursing for patients at home, eventually becoming the organization’s executive director.

Penn Nursing’s Professor of Pain Practice, Rosemary Polomano, PhD, RN, FAAN, salutes and thanks Sophia for her military service. “It is so important during Veteran’s Day and other times during the year to take a moment to remember the dedicated service of active-duty military and veteran colleagues, and the difference that they made while serving our country.”

Sophia’s grandson, also Ray Stubbs, says of his tough and disciplined former military grandmother, “She will always be my role model.”

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