Much of Dorothy Edgerton’s life has been associated with Bridgeport Hospital.
As Bridgeport Hospital changed over the years, Dorothy Edgerton was there to see it.
“I was born there in 1927, went to nursing school there, worked there, had numerous surgeries there and delivered my two children there,” said Edgerton. “I have a lot of connections to Bridgeport Hospital.” Her grandchildren
were also born there and one granddaughter worked as an occupational therapist in the rehabilitation unit.
Edgerton grew up around the corner, went to Harding High School and knew she wanted to be a nurse. She entered Bridgeport Hospital’s nursing school during World War II and was part of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. The students lived in the large brick building on Mill Hill Ave. and trained at the hospital. WWII ended prior to her graduation, so she stayed in Bridgeport, married her high school sweetheart, Robert, and began her nursing career. She worked at the hospital as a nurse for about five years, full-time until she had her children, and then part-time on the weekends, which was unusual for women during that time.
“I loved working at the hospital and caring for people,” recalled Edgerton. When she hung up her white nursing cap, she still wanted to help others so she started volunteering in the gift shop.
In addition to her donating her time, Edgerton and her late husband, Robert, began supporting the hospital financially through donations to the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation, including the Hug-a-Bear campaign and the Joan Jacoby Fund, among other programs.
Edgerton’s daughter, Donna Milne, introduced her mother to breast cancer patient Lee Ann Riley, who was instrumental in the creation of the Norma Pfriem Breast Center. Edgerton and Milne believed so much in the center’s mission to support those suffering from breast cancer, they became founding donors. Sadly, Riley lost her cancer battle in 2003, but she is still in Edgerton’s thoughts.
“If only she were here today to see what has become of the center,” said Edgerton.
For the past 15 years, Edgerton has sponsored the Rose of Hope luncheon to benefit the breast center. Early on, she played in the golf tournaments to help raise funds for the facility. Currently, she volunteers at the Fairfield location of the breast center on Wednesdays and remains an active alumnae of the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing.
At 90 years old, Edgerton has dedicated much of her life to giving back. “I still keep in touch with my nursing school classmates. We talk about the good old times at the hospital. I would love to do more. I wish I was younger, I would go
to the hospital and volunteer in different ways. It would be a joy.”