World War II Army nurse who lived through two pandemics dies at 108

World War II Army nurse Meta Monteleonwas a guest speaker at a 2013 Memorial Day program at the Dublin Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

Meta Monteleon, a treasured resident at the Dublin Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia passed away peacefully in her sleep May 3. She was 108.

Monteleon served in the Army Nurse Corps during WWII, according to a VA news release. Following her discharge from the service in 1944, she continued with her nursing career for an additional 50 years. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living WWII nurse.

A devoted champion for veterans, Monteleon attended numerous ceremonies and celebrations at Dublin VA over the years, including Veterans Day, Memorial Day and most recently, Dublin VA’s 75th anniversary on April 22.

“My mother loved serving in the Army, Red Cross and as a nurse, but she was also a superior Scrabble player and continued driving herself to games until she was 94 years old,” said Martha Duke, her daughter. “Her laughter could light up a room, and she will be deeply missed.”

Born in 1914, Monteleon toughed it out through two pandemics—the Spanish Flu in 1918 and COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Monteleon was a resident at Dublin VA, where stringent protocols were put in place to protect veteran residents at its five Community Living Centers and Hospice Care Unit.

Monteleon made national news during the pandemic by using Facetime on a smartphone to call her centenarian sister Virginia Dupree Phillips who also served as a WWII nurse. After speaking with Virginia in 2020, Monteleon said, “I think we’re lucky to be as safe as we are. Having the ability to stay in touch with family during this time is wonderful and important.”

A memorial brick with Monteleon’s name will be added to Dublin VA’s Avenue of Flags for Deceased Veterans at the base of the main flagpole later this year.

“When I served as an emcee for various events at Dublin VA, I always introduced Ms. Meta when announcing special guests, and we became quick friends,” Army Vietnam veteran Johnny Payne said. “I’ll always cherish the memories we had and the stories she shared as we both served during wartime and that’s a bond that’s uniquely special.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Department of Veterans Affairs