Dolores Ruth Harper
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4-28-1929 - 2-11-2013
Dolores Ruth (Mickelberry) Harper, age 83, went to be with her Lord on February 11, 2013. Dolores was born to William A. Mickelberry and Ruth Amelia Fulmer Mickelberry on the farm 8 miles south of Mohall, North Dakota in Renville County. She attended the Clay Township school until the 9th grade when her family moved to Mohall. She graduated from Mohall High School as salutatorian and enrolled at Samaritan Hospital in Nampa near the Northwest Nazarene College campus in 1946 to commence training as a nurse. At the age of 20, it was discovered that she had a "lump" in her right breast. After Dr. T.E. Mangum, Sr. performed a mastectomy, Dolores attempted to continue school, but found it impossible to keep up. In 1946, she also met Joe Harper. When she was unable to continue her training, they decided to get married and begin their lives together. Joe and Dolores, whom he always called "Mick", were married at College Church of the Nazarene on Dec. 22, 1949. Theirs was the first formal wedding in College Church after it was built. The newlyweds moved to Los Angeles where Joe was attending school. Mick worked as a clerk-typist while Joe completed his training as a mechanic. In 1952, they moved to her family's farm at Mohall where their first child was born. In 1953 they moved to Denver, Colorado where Mick worked at Rocky Mountain Osteopathic Hospital. Ten years after leaving nurse's training, and after the birth of their second child, Dolores completed nursing school at Mercy Hospital in Denver and realized her dream of becoming a registered nurse.
In 1966, the Harpers returned to Nampa where Dolores worked at the old Samaritan Hospital until it closed. She helped deliver the last baby born at the hospital. After working for a short time in Caldwell, Dolores began working at Mercy Medical Center in pediatrics and then transferred to obstetrics (OB). She called OB "the best floor in the hospital" and was both charge nurse and head nurse. In order to spend more time caring for the mothers and babies that she loved, Dolores returned to the position of charge nurse in her later years. Dolores also taught birthing classes and actually delivered some babies when the baby arrived before the doctor! A 1986 newspaper article stated that Dolores had helped deliver and care for over 15,000 babies by that time. Many more were born before she retired in 1992. Her hobbies were sewing, gardening, and cooking. She did them all very well. She even took up hunting, fishing, and camping with Joe. The couple traveled a lot, especially to visit their children and families who did not live close. Dolores would bring along boxes of homemade jellies to leave with the host of friends they also visited. After retirement, Dolores filled her time with working in the nursery at church and cooking for funeral dinners. Throughout her years in Nampa she also frequently had college students over for meals. For a number of years, Joe and Dolores opened their home to college students who lived with them when they needed financial help. Dolores is survived by her husband, Joe Harper, and two daughters, Jodie (Phil) Pinckard of El Dorado, Arkansas and Joye (Pat) McCown of Calico Rock, Arkansas. She is also survived by three grandchildren: Heather Willis of El Dorado, Arkansas, Cameron McCown of Meridian, and Amelia (Amy) McCown of Nampa as well as 3 great-grandchildren and many wonderful friends who have become a part of our family. She was preceded in death by her parents, and two brothers, William Lavier Mickelberry and Orville Mickelberry, as well as two grandsons, Nicholas Andrew McCown, age 4 months in 1995, and Mark Wesley Pinckard, age 18 in 2002. Thanks to the staff of Streamside Assisted Living Memory Care for their excellent care during her last days. A special thanks to grand-daughter Amy for the time she spent with her grandmother and the loving care she provided her the last three years and especially the last week of her life.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Northwest Nazarene University School of Nursing scholarship fund. A viewing will be held on Monday Feb. 18 from 5-7PM at Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel, 404 10th Ave S. Funeral services will be Tuesday the 19th at Noon at College Church of the Nazarene, Nampa. Services are under the direction of Alsip Funeral Chapel, 466-3545.
Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel
404 Tenth Avenue South Nampa, ID 83651
Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Feb. 15, 2013