Make us your home page

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

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.