She was born in 1916. To some that is a long time ago, but for Dorothy Stenvold and her family it means years full of memories. Stenvold was born in Vancouver and grew up there with her two sisters and a brother. “I as a B.C. girl through and through,” stated Stenvold who has lived in Princeton for most of her adult life.
Stenvold graduated from Grade 12 and went on to the Royal Columbian to pursue a career in nursing. After graduation from there, she went on to Tranquille for a few months. Then, in November of 1939 at 4 in the morning, Stenvold arrived by train into the big town of Princeton to report for duty to the hospital there for her second posting assignment. “I had asked Ms. Clarke the nursing director if she knew of any small hospitals needing nurses and she said Princeton. I didn’t know anything about Princeton, ” Stenvold stated. Ms.. Clarke told me a bit about Princeton and when the train left in three or four days later, I was on it.”
In preparation for her adventure, Stenvold went to Vancouver with her mom and bought a hat, coat, dress, shoes, stockings and winter boots. “I was nervous when I arrived on that cold dark night,” Stenvold continued. “I was put right to work after being shown my room that I shared with another nurse. The nurses residence was right beside the little hospital.”
Stenvold dug in to her work and soon had established roots. In October of ’42 those roots grew deeper when she married Princeton resident, Carl Stenvold. “He was the milk man who delivered to the hospital,” said Dorothy. A year later, Stenvold “found it advisable to become a dairy farmer’s wife” and spent some time really “working incredibly hard.” The hard working duo soon proved that family was part of their plan. They had three children, Roger born in ’53, Norman born in ’55 and Sandy born in ’47.
In 1956, Stenvold went back to nursing. “Two years later, I was promoted to director of nursing.” Then, in 1970 the whole operation moved to the new hospital. “I worked there for two years before I retired.” Over the years, Stenvold had seen a lot of injuries and healed a lot of people, but clearly remembers one day in particular. “One day I was called at home,” stated Stenvold. “A male psych patient had somehow made it out of the hospital nude and I was called to come get him back in the hospital.” Over her career, Stenvold estimated she had worked with 50-55 nurses and at times when the doctor wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time for a dilivey, she would help with the delivery. “The only thing I couldn’t do was cut the umbilical cord. I would clamp it and wait for the doctor to cut it,” said Stenvold.
Stenvold did not sit idle in her retirement years, but rather kept busy in a number of clubs. She was on the Hospital Auxiliary, Rebekkahs, Senior Citizens and the Museum board. In 1984, she had open heart surgery. Then, in ’97 a pacemaker was installed. Stenvold moved to Vermilion Court in 2003 and in November of ’09 moved once more to Ridgewood Lodge.
Stenvold’s years in Princeton are many, but along the way she touched many lives. Saving some, bringing others into the word and always keeping busy. Princeton became a better place after she asked to come work in a small town. It was a union that was meant to be.