Mildred Vahrenkamp MacMurchy, 96, of Billings, MT, died Monday, July 13, 2020. She was born on December 15, 1923, in Killeen, TX, to William Carl Vahrenkamp and Alma Martha (Winkelmann) Vahrenkamp, the youngest of nine children. Mildred grew up on a farm outside of Killeen. She graduated from Killeen High School and attended King’s Daughters Hospital School of Nursing, becoming a registered nurse in 1944. Mildred was an adventurous soul and with a friend took a train to Nashville, TN, to accept a position at Vanderbilt University Hospital. She then returned to Killeen and worked at the Camp Hood hospital (now Darnall). She moved to Corpus Christi, TX, in 1947 to work at Memorial Hospital. She met the love of her life on a blind date in December of 1947. Mildred married David Roy MacMurchy Jr. (Mac) on April 22, 1948. Mac was a career Navy man and took Mildred on many adventures. They lived in San Diego, CA, Bremerton, WA, Norfolk, VA, Panama, Bermuda, and back to Corpus Christi. Mildred continued her career as a Registered Nurse most everywhere they were stationed, working as a volunteer visiting nurse for mothers and newborns. When Mac was stationed in Corpus Christi for the second time, Mildred returned to working at Memorial Hospital until 1962. She then took a position at the new Doctors Hospital, a 24 bed hospital that was mainly to be for day surgeries. Mildred saw this hospital grow into a 200-bed full-service hospital when she retired in 1987 as the Associate Executive Director of Nursing and a highly respected member of the medical community.
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After her retirement, Mac and Mildred continued to travel taking several cruises in the Caribbean and the Inner Passage of Alaska. They also took several international trips to tour Bahrain, Israel, Italy, Scotland, Ireland and Britain. When Mildred returned from a trip after visiting several cathedrals, she decided that her church, St. Mark’s Lutheran in Corpus Christi, TX, should have needle point kneelers. She and several other members began working on the kneelers. She also worked with the other women of the church making numerous banners which are still used today at St Mark’s. Mildred found a couple of new passions – quilting and watercolors. She made quilts for all members of her family, and her water colors can be found in all of her families’ homes and those of her extended family.
In 2013 after her son’s death, Mildred moved from Corpus Christi to Mission Ridge, at St. John’s United Campus in Billings, MT, to be near her daughter and family. During the seven years Mildred was in Billings, she was able to stay on the campus and transition from Independent Living, to Assisted Living and in 2018 moved to Liggett Cottage for skilled nursing care. She continued making quilts, potato bags, and painting with watercolors up until she had a mild stroke in January of 2019.
Mildred was preceded in death by her parents, William and Alma Vahrenkamp, her brothers Adolph, Albert, Rudolph, and Oscar Vahrenkamp; her sisters Lillie Weiss, Annie Weiss, Louise Cude, and Lydia Stuewe. She was also preceded in death by her husband Mac and son David Roy MacMurchy III. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Martha Sue and Gregory McCannel of Billings MT; three granddaughters Gillian (Bob) Hochmuth of Joliet, MT, Meredith (Austin) Brister of Houston, TX, and Stephanie (Donnie) Veltri of Billings, MT; four great-grand children Trey and Susie Hochmuth, Hazel and Bennett Brister; nieces and nephews she referred to as her “kids”, Mae Hall, June Renick, Sylvia (Tim) VanAntwerp, Joyce Reavis, Janiece (Sam) Taffinder, Larry (Joy) Weiss, Syd (Carol) Stuewe, Charles (Karen) Weiss, Gaile (Mel) Swoyer, Carlton (Bill) Sands, AJ Vahrenkamp, Linda (Jim) Foster, Bill (Joy) Stuewe, and Jimmy (Karen) Stuewe. She also has two incredibly special friends that she referred to as her other daughters Dinah [Zike] (Ignacio) Salas-Humara, and Becky (Jimmy) Evans.
The family would like to thank St. John’s United Campus in Billings, MT, for the care they gave Mildred the last few years. Family will receive friends at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, July 27, 2020, at Seaside Funeral Home, 4357 Ocean Dr., Corpus Christi, TX. A celebration of Mildred’s life will follow at noon with Rev. Thomas McCrone officiating. Interment will follow at Seaside Memorial Park. The service will be live streamed by Seaside Funeral Home; please see their website for instructions. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church, 3801 Cunningham Road, Killeen, TX 76542.