The Bethel Deaconess Hospital/Bethel College Nursing Alumni Association named Marie and Martha Voth of North Newton its Outstanding Alumnus Award winners for 2011-12.
The Voth sisters grew up in the Goessel community. Though now retired in North Newton, they are lifelong members of and still attend Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church in Goessel.
They graduated from Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in 1962 and from Bethel College in 1965 with bachelor’s degrees, both majoring in nursing and minoring in psychology.
They spent their nursing careers in hospitals, including Bethel Deaconess Hospital and Newton Medical Center; Martha as a head nurse on the medical floor and Marie as charge nurse on evenings and surgery. They also spent two years as volunteers with Mennonite Central Committee at Grenfell Mission Hospital, St. Anthony, Newfoundland.
“They are remembered as nurses who always worked quietly and efficiently,” Bethel College Director of Nursing Phyllis Miller said. “I worked for a summer on the medical floor and I remember them and their strong sense of professionalism and what role models of nursing they were.”
The Voth sisters, identical twins, have remained active as volunteers since their retirement from nursing, working to raise funds for the Bethel Auxiliary and tending flowers at several museums in the area.
Lately they have become well known for their work in wheat marquetry, making three-dimensional small pieces and framed images from wheat straw. They have created more than 100 pieces, some of which have gone to other countries.
“I remember their image of the Liberty Bell that was on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C, for a while and now is at the Mennonite Historical Museum in Goessel,” Miller said.
The BDH/BCNAA Outstanding Alumnus Award is given on the basis of dedication to the nursing profession, demonstrated leadership ability and creativity, and outstanding professionalism, to an alumnus who has promoted and elevated the general nursing image and is held in high regard by peers and the community.