Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nurse and historian Julie Obenreder, 98, delivered babies in western Pasco County

NEW PORT RICHEY — It's hard to imagine today as several modern hospitals serve hundreds of patients daily in western Pasco County. But until 1952, pregnant women had to drive to Tarpon Springs or Clearwater hospitals for care and delivery.

That's when Dr. Gerald Sprankel opened the Richey Clinic in a house just south of downtown. The nurse in charge: Julie Obenreder.

The clinic would serve more than 600 patients in the next eight years. Still, if you were a black woman in need of obstetrics, you had to find other options.

Mrs. Obenreder recognized their plight and without hesitation volunteered time and again to help in the one pocket of West Pasco where black families lived — the community known as Pine Hill. Until 1965, when the first hospital in New Port Richey opened to all in need, Mrs. Obenreder delivered at least 50 babies in Pine Hill at all hours of the day and night, free of charge.

That piece of history is included in West Pasco Heritage, a book published by the West Pasco Historical Society, which Mrs. Obenreder helped found in 1973.

"She made a real contribution to her community," offered granddaughter Julia McCutcheon.

Mrs. Obenreder died Thursday at Southern Pines Nursing Center, where she had moved only recently after breaking her shoulder blade in a fall. She was 98.

Julie Jenkins was born in 1913 in Wilcox, Pa. Her father was a glass blower and a baker. She studied nursing and on Dec. 31, 1932, married Roy Obenreder, who delivered coal by truck. They had a son and two daughters, including one with respiratory problems. In 1945, they moved to New Port Richey for the warmer climate.

Mrs. Obenreder had learned to play piano as a child. In her new community, she joined Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church and became organist for the choir.

In 1971, she joined with Janet Lewis, the city's librarian, in an effort to create a local historical society. Mrs. Obenreder became the society's first president in 1974. "She was a meticulous note taker," said McCutcheon, who cared for her grandmother in the later years. "In her last days, she started having some trouble remember things. Fortunately, she had written everything down."

The area's history is housed in a building that served as the Seven Springs schoolhouse from 1913 to 1925. It was moved to Sims Park in 1981, and Roy Obenreder, who became a building contractor, was in charge of the renovations. Roy died in 1993 at age 80.

In addition to her many articles in West Pasco Heritage, Mrs. Obenreder also authored My Pioneer Days in West Pasco. She served one term on the New Port Richey City Council in the late 1970s.

.Fast facts

Julie Obenreder

Born: Jan. 7, 1913

Died: March 10, 2011

Survivors include daughter Connie Smith of New Port Richey, son James Obenreder of Fryburg, Pa., and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Michels & Lundquist Funeral Home, 5228 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey. A funeral mass is scheduled for noon Monday at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 5340 High St., New Port Richey.

Nurse and historian Julie Obenreder, 98, delivered babies in western Pasco County 03/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Perry duped by Russian duo impersonating Ukraine leader

    National

    WASHINGTON — Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been fooled by a pair of Russian pranksters impersonating the prime minister of Ukraine.

    Energy Secretary Rick Perry, right, talks with former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and radio host Joe Piscopo, left, at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. [Associated Press]
  2. Controversial landfill site could be rechristened as industrial recruiting land in Pasco

    Economic Development

    The east Pasco property of Angelo's Aggregate Materials, which failed to obtain a state environmental permit to be developed as a garbage landfill, is being studied as a potential 1,000-acre mega site for industrial recruitment.

  3. Joe Henderson: At son's wedding, memories of child-rearing build to a perfect moment

    Columns

    On a secluded beach known as Hawksnest on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a bride-to-be named Heather McNeill hurried along a wooded path to meet the man she was about to marry.

    Heather McNeill married fellow Strawberry Crest High teacher Ben Henderson on a secluded beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands. "They wanted something totally theirs," says Ben's dad Joe Henderson. "I think they had their parents in mind, as well." [Courtesy of Henderson family]
  4. Forecast: Near record-high temperatures, minimal rain in store for Tampa Bay

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents can expect a significantly hot Wednesday — possibly record-breaking — and a small chance of pop up showers.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]