Scott County

Lt. Helen Agnes Launtz




Miss Helen Agnes Launtz, a graduate of the Mercy hospital school of nursing, will leave Thursday for Fort Benning, Ga., as a member of the national Red Cross staff.

Miss Launtz was graduated from Immaculate Conception academy and has recently completed a post graduate course at the Cook County hospital in Chicago.

Source: The Daily Times, March 5, 1941 (photo included)


Second Lieutenant Helen Agnes Launtz has been promoted to the rank of first lieutenant in the army nurse corps, at a field hospital somewhere in the South Pacific area.

Lieut. Launtz, who recently appeared in a news dispatches as one of the first white women to visit Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall group, completed a furlough last week in the Hawaiian islands after serving for nearly eight months in the Gilberts.

Lieut. Launtz made her home in Davenport with Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Phelan, 2135 Marquette street. She is a graduate of the Immaculate Conception academy, Mercy hospital school of nursing and completed graduate work at St. Ambrose college. She was a staff member of the Cook County hospital in Chicago, before entering the army nurse corps in March, 1943.

Source: The Daily Times, June 20, 1944 (photo included)

Take Vows In Honolulu, Hawaii

From Honolulu, Hawaii, comes news of the marriage of Lieut. Helen A. Launtz of Davenport and Lieut. Carl R. Kaesser of Rochester, N.Y.  Vows uniting the couple were spoken April 21, 1945 in the post chapel at Schofield barracks with the Rev. Thomas Kelleher officiating.

Lieut. Genevieve Brennan of Yonkers, N.Y. attended the bride as maid of honor and Capt. George E. McManus of Newport, R.I. served as best man.

The bride, given in marriage by Col. P.P. Green, commanding officer of the hospital at which she is stationed, was attired in a white satin bridal gown fashioned with a sweetheart neckline and long train. She wored a fingertip veil and carried an arm bouquet of 50 gardenias. Lieut. Brennan wore a shell pink gown of lace and tulle and a Juliet cap. She carried pink roses and blue delphiniums.  A wedding reception was held at the Officers’ Club.  A six-tier wedding cake centered the serving table, and it was cut with a saber in the traditional military style.

Mrs. Kaesser, who made her home at 2535 Marquette street before entering the Army Nurse Corps, is a graduate of the Immaculate Conception academy and the Mercy hospital school of nursing. She took post graduate work at Cook county hospital in Chicago, and enlisted in the service in February, 1941, serving for two years at Camp Benning, Ga., and one year on Makin Island in the Marianas.  For the past 10 months she has been stationed at Oahu Island, Hawaii.

Lieut. Kaesser is a graduate of Aquinas Institute and of the Rochester business college in New York. A special guest at the wedding  was Ensign William Deegan of Davenport, who is stationed in Hawaii.

Source: Quad City Times, (Davenport, Iowa) May 9, 1945 (photo included)

Left photo about 1942

Right photo in 1985

Helen Agnes (Launtz) Kaesser

Helen Kaesser; was wartime nurse
To the battle-weary American troops stationed at Gilbert Island chain during World War II, Helen A. Kaesser’s arrival with 11 other nurses was a welcome sight.

“She told us the whole atmosphere changed” among the men as they were the first women assigned to the Pacific, said her daughter, Sue O’Toole, of Rochester.

Mrs. Kaesser, 79, died July 24, 1994, of cancer at her Irondequoit home.

And though that chapter of her life in the U.S. Army passed, it has been recorded in a section of the recent book, B-25s Target Kyushu.

Genny Urrutia and Agnes M. Arrington, both of San Antonio, Texas, held a reunion for the nurses in 1977 and Mrs. Kaesser was among the “Makin Belles” who attended.

Urrutia, who said the servicemen on the atoll of Makin gave them the catchy moniker, was the bridesmaid when the former Lt. Helen Launtz married Army Lt. Carl Kaesser. 

“She was a very capable operating room nurse. She was very well-liked by everyone,” said Urrutia.

“I think the remarkable thing about the group of us on Makin is that over the 50 years, we’ve retained our friendship,” she added.

Arrington said she and Mrs. Kaesser started their military careers together at Fort Benning, Ga. “She was a very sensitive and caring person,” said Arrington.

Mrs. Kaesser left the Army in 1945 and returned to her former home of
Davenport, Iowa, to await her husband’s military discharge.

She had been trained as a nurse in that city’s Mercy hospital and had done post graduate work at Cook County Hospital in Chicago before being recruited by the Red Cross to serve in the war in 1941.

Mrs. Kaesser worked briefly as a nurse at Strong Memorial hospital after moving in 1946 to Rochester.

She belonged to St. Thomas Apostle Church, 4536 St. Paul Blvd.

Besides her daughter and husband of 49 years, Mrs. Kaesser is survived by two other daughters, Mary Jo Patel of Webster and Kathy Zingo of Spencerport; a son, Robert Kaesser of El Paso, Texas; nine grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.  –Keven Bryant Hicks

Source: Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) Friday, September 9, 1994 (two photos included)