“I remember hearing the reports on the seventh of December (1941) and I was starting my senior year. I knew right then, I was going to have to be there,” Stephanic said.
When leaving the states, Stephanic was with the 32nd Evacuation Hospital, an Oklahoma unit. While she was in Ireland, the 107th Evacuation Hospital needed one nurse.
“They were going in on the 12th of July. They were short one nurse. They literally put names in a helmet, and mine was one that got drawn out. In a way, it was funny because — talk about cultural shock — I went from an Oklahoma outfit to one from Boston, Mass.
“All of the time when we were overseas, if we got anyone in from Oklahoma or Texas, I was called on to interpret. I kept saying there was not a thing wrong with the Texans or the Oklahomans, it was just that they were in the wrong spot,” Stephanic said.
Growing up, Stephanic had all the intentions to be a doctor.
“But at that time, in the ’40s, there wasn’t much money and there wasn’t much (of a) way I could make my way, but I could manage nursing. But I was never really sorry because I found many things to do as a nurse that I enjoyed,” Stephanic said. “Because, maybe it sounds self serving, but really and truly, it was the first time I felt as though I had a reason for being.”
When Stephanic got back to the service, her father was transferred to Stillwater. Life later took Stephanic to Woodward for three years to teach practical nursing. After that, Stephanic came back to Stillwater, where she taught freshman chemistry at what was then Oklahoma A&M.
One thing we agreed on was when Stephanic encouraged other women to pursue their dreams.