Former US Army Corps nurse Alice Fletcher speaks with Katie McCollum after receiving a quilt from Quilts of Honor on Saturday, February 3, 2024, in Post Falls, Idaho.

102-year-old Army Nurse Veteran Celebrated by Quilts of Honor

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POST FALLS, IDAHO – Alicemarian (Alice) Clifford Flesher, the first resident admitted to the new Idaho Veterans Home in Post Falls, Idaho, received a one-of-a-kind quilt made by Quilts of Honor on Saturday, February 3, 2024.

The 102-year-old former US Army nurse was born in Billings, Montana, on February 4, 1922. During her youth, Fletcher’s family moved several times in eastern Montana as her father found work. They lived for a time near Fort Peck, where he worked on the Dam project during the Great Depression. She tells stories of the extreme cold and other hardships the workers and their families endured in the shanty-towns along the Montana high-line. Her father was often absent during her childhood as he traveled to find work during the Depression, while her mother found work cooking at cafes and ranches.

Even though World War II was raging, Fletcher married her highschool sweetheart on August 4, 1943, in Libby, Montana. Staff Sergeant James Fletcher had enlisted in the army only ten days after Pearl Harbor and served throughout the war as a crew chief on a B-47 supply plane. The couple spent most of their 68-year marriage living in Libby, Montana, where they raised four children who currently reside in Idaho, Washington, and Montana.

After high school graduation, Fletcher entered nursing school in Havre, Montana where she trained at Sacred Heart Hospital under the tutelage of the Franciscan nun-teachers who enforced a rigorous program. She graduated in 1944 and joined the Army Nurse Corps in February 1945. She was posted at Dibble General Hospital, Palo Alto, where she served until the end of the war in November 1945. 

She entered the US Army Nursing Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant, without having to attend basic training. Nurses were given rank to help protect them against harassment by male officers, and as a 2nd lieutenant she outranked her husband. Fletcher worked mostly with burn patients coming in from the Pacific theater who had suffered horrific, emotionally wrenching wounds. She describes an interesting burn treatment technique of growing graft skin by attaching an arm or hand to the patient’s abdomen and harvesting the skin that would grow between them.

US Army Nurse Corps Alice Fletcher, 2nd Lieutenant, in 1945.

Her civilian career was as a surgical nurse, working for Libby surgeons, Woodrow Nelson and Roger Brus, for nearly thirty years. She and her husband were avid square and round dancers, both before and after retirement. After retiring in the mid-1980s, Fletcher took up oil painting, remaining completely self-taught. She has several paintings displayed in her room at the Idaho Veterans Home.

A collection of paintings by veteran Alice Fletcher displayed at the Idaho Veterans Home in Post Falls, Idaho.

The all-volunteer Quilts of Honor program has been crafting personalized quilts for American veterans since 2010. According to their website, the mission is “to bestow a universal symbol and token of thanks, solace, and remembrance to those who serve in harm’s way to protect and defend our lives and freedoms. Quilts of Honor are made by the loving hands of countless volunteers who wish to thank those who have served and to honor their service and sacrifice.”