Dorothy Mae DeVault Wild was born January 14, 1918, to Willie Mae Benge DeVault and Raleigh (Rollie) Hiriam DeVault in rural S.E. Bloomfield in Davis County, Iowa, on a farm during a blizzard. The doctor, a lady doctor, was unable to get there so Grandmother Mary Jane Miller DeVault assisted with the birth. Raleigh did not want his wife Mae taken care of by a "man doctor" so it was the wife of the male doctor who was also a doctor who cared for Mae.
Dorothy was the middle child of three children. Her older brother was Donald Raleigh and her younger sister was Mary Lucille. She attended Swamp Angel School beginning at the age of 4 years. This was so her older brother Donald age 6 would not have to go to school alone (he started school at the same time). She moved to the town of Bloomfield when she was in the second grade. She attended Bloomfield grade school and high school, graduating in 1935); then Bloomfield Junior College, graduating in 1937. From the age of 13 until the age of 23, she lived with her grandparents Mary Jane Miller DeVault and Hiriam DeVault. Her grandmother Mary Jane was paralyzed and her responsibility in exchange for room board and $2.50 a week was to care for her.
She went to the University of Iowa School of Nursing in Iowa City, graduating in 1944. Her father did not approve of her choice of going on to school and forbid her to attend any nursing schools in nearby Ottumwa. He gave her permission to attend the University of Iowa Nursing School but told her he would not help with any support. The family did not want her to leave Bloomfield as the taking care of her grandmother would then fall on someone else. Her aunt told her that if she left her grandmother would die and it would be her fault. She left for school in September and her grandmother died in November at age 94 (result of a stroke).
After graduation from the University of Iowa, Dorothy worked as an assistant night supervisor at the University Hospitals until February 1, 1946. She then married Vernon Ray Wild on February 3, 1946. They began their married life on a Weaver Witwer farm east of Marion Iowa. Five children were born to them: John Albert (1946), Robert Donald (1948), Linda Mae (1951), Richard Ray (1954), and Larry Joe (1959). She worked part time off and on in nursing, both private and at St. Luke's in Cedar Rapids. She raised a large garden, kept house, gathered eggs, and canned. They lived on three different Witwer farms, including the Martin Creek farm and the Old Turkey farm. Her health was good but she had at least three situations involving pneumonia, one of which was life threatening. For four years she helped her husband gather wash and case eggs at the Old Turkey farm. In order to accumulate enough money for a down payment on a home of their own, she began commuting to Mt. Vernon, working in a nursing home.
In 1968 they moved off the farm into Keystone, Iowa, where they bought their first home. Vernon worked as a janitor until his death in 1971 at the Benton Community Schools (Keystone Center). Dorothy worked in the local doctor's office (2 years) then for public health (2 years) and then became one of the first employees at the Keystone Care Center when it opened. She was charge nurse of the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift for 13 years that included at least two attempted retirements. In 1990 she finally retired at age 72 1/2 years following 5 years of teaching the 20 hour Nurse Aide Course to prospective Nurse's Assistants. She continued volunteering at the Care Center until 2009. Dorothy died November 28, 2010 at the Keystone Care Center in Keystone, Iowa at the age of 92.
Submitted 7/1/96; updated 11/18/2013