Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | James F. Pittenger Sr.

Epilogue | James F. Pittenger Sr.

James Pittenger Sr., a male nurse ahead of his time, dies at 98

ST. PETERSBURG — Classmates teased the children of James Pittenger over what he did for a living.

"I would say, 'My dad's a nurse,' " said Susan Lewis, Mr. Pittenger's daughter. "They would say to me, 'You mean he's a doctor?' "

James Pittenger was part of the 20th century's earliest wave of male nurses, a category excluded from the American Nurses Association until 1930.

He never wanted to be a doctor.

"They asked me if he wore funny little hats and skirts to work," said Lewis, 65.

Her father found the taunts amusing. "He loved it," Lewis said.

The neighborhood kids in Schenectady, N.Y., weren't laughing when they took a spill off their bicycle or sprained an ankle playing.

They showed up at the front door, knowing "Mr. Pitt" would treat their scrapes and bandage their wounds.

He was a member of the Jersey City Medical Center School of Nursing's Class of 1939, the third year the school admitted male students. He became a registered nurse. The Army used him mightily for four years during World War II, putting him in charge of all medical records at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu.

He met Anne Moore at a New Year's Eve party two weeks after his discharge. They married and moved to Schenectady. Mr. Pittenger worked at the nearby Albany VA Medical Center until his retirement in 1968.

Mr. Pittenger was born in Red Bank, N.J., in 1914. He played the violin as a boy. He was quiet and liked to read about animals, his daughter said.

Later, he played with the Schenectady orchestra and taught violin. Along with their two children, the couple always had dogs in the house. A couple of favorites over the years included Lassie, a collie; and Condition (Condi for short), a Boston terrier.

Mr. Pittenger retired in 1968 and moved to St. Petersburg. However, he soon earned a Florida nursing license and worked at the former William and Mary Nursing Home until 1989.

He enjoyed the constants in his life — bicycling along the streets and alleys of the Old Northeast neighborhood, tending his many fruit trees and playing poker.

"He had a good poker face. It's a nurse trait," said Lewis, a retired nurse herself.

After Anne died in 2001, Mr. Pittenger moved to a condominium, where he lived independently. Ten months ago he moved to Bon Secours Place, an assisted living facility. His daughter was with him when he died March 18.

"I had just walked in the room and kissed him on the head," his daughter said. "I told him I loved him and he stopped breathing.

"The hospice girl who had been there all night looked at me and said, 'Well, he was waiting for you.' And I guess he was."

Mr. Pittenger was 98.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248.

.Biography

James F. Pittenger Sr.

Born: May 8, 1914

Died: March 18, 2013

Survivors: daughter, Susan Lewis; and son, James F. Pittenger Jr.

Memorial: To be arranged.

James Pittenger Sr., a male nurse ahead of his time, dies at 98 03/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 7:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park

    News

    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]
  2. 4-year-old girl, man injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash

    Briefs

    A 4-year-old girl was airlifted with serious injuries after a personal watercraft she was riding on collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

  3. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave

    Crime

    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  4. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]