99 and Counting - The Missourian: Senior Lifetimes

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99 and Counting

Eloise Bronak Served in Navy as Nurse During World War II

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 6:32 pm | Updated: 5:01 pm, Mon Aug 4, 2014.

Eloise Bronak spent much of her life caring for others.

On July 28 many other are showing they care by sending Bronak cards for her 99th birthday.

Bronak was born in Decatur, Ill., and has made her home in Texas and Michigan, and eventually St. Clair. Today she lives at Willow Brooke Assisted Living Facility in Union where she has lived for seven years.

Bronak joined the Navy as a registered nurse in 1944 during World War II, but was not able to serve overseas.

“They wouldn’t let me go overseas because I was too little — I couldn’t stretch enough,” she joked. “I was to take what was left over.”

She served for three years taking care of wounded soldiers who returned to the United States.

“Then I got married to the first Marine to ask me out and they kicked me out,” Bronak said.

Bronak and her first husband lived in Texas for 11 years and she worked as a nurse in public health.

“As an RN I could always get a job,” she said. “To this day I think I could get a job.”

She divorced her first husband and then moved to Michigan where she continued her work in public health.

After living in Michigan, Bronak who had remarried, moved to the Clayton area with her husband. She then worked in the medical department at Chrysler.

Not long afterward she returned to working in health care for St. Louis County.

“I always loved working in public health,” Bronak said. “It was always so different.”

While in St. Clair, Bronak received a real estate license, but didn’t work in the field long.

She moved into Willow Brooke in 2007 and just a few years later Bronak went to Washington, D.C., with the Franklin County Honor Flight.

Bronak, who never had any children, keeps a scrapbook with photographs and clippings from major moments in her life. Sometimes she will flip the book to reminisce.

When asked for the secret to a long live. Bronak said, “Just live it and have fun — just relax and enjoy it.”

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