Nurse who fought to create St. Claire Regional Medical Center dies at 96

Susie Halbleib dedicated her life to the service of humanity

MOREHEAD, Ky. (WTVQ/NEWS RELEASE) – It is with heavy hearts that St. Claire HealthCare mourns the passing of Susie Halbleib, RN. She died at the age of 96 on Wednesday at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, the hospital she and Dr. Claire Louise Caudill fought to create nearly 60 years ago.

Born in northern Kentucky, Susie spent much of her youth in Louisville, where she attended grade school, and later Ursuline Academy. Upon graduation from the academy, she obtained a degree from Nazareth College and completed her nurse’s training at St. Joseph Infirmary.

Susie began her nursing career by traveling to Clay County in 1947 to work as a nurse at Oneida Maternity Hospital, where she met Dr. Claire Louise Caudill. Susie and Dr. Louise ultimately joined forces and traveled back to Dr. Louise’s hometown of Morehead to establish their first medical practice. The pair spent much of the next decade traveling house to house in Rowan and surrounding counties delivering babies together. The team is credited with delivering more than 8,000 babies over the years.

“She found a career and really a vocation in taking care of women and babies and the health issues that so needed to be addressed in this area when they started the practice here,” said Madonna Weathers, Susie’s first cousin and a member of the SCH Foundation Board. “I know that’s been very special and was no doubt the reason that there finally was a hospital for the people here.”

They knew the people of the region needed access to better medical care and deserved a good hospital. They set out on a tireless journey to bring a much-needed hospital to Morehead. After funding for the project and a sponsorship from the Sisters of Notre Dame were secured, St. Claire Hospital was constructed and officially opened its doors on July 1, 1963.

In 1996, Susie received an honorary doctorate from Morehead State University for her dedicated service to the people of the region. She was awarded the St. Claire Foundation’s inaugural Signature Award in November 2021 for a lifetime of service to others.

Susie dedicated her life to the service of humanity. Even after retiring from St. Claire HealthCare, Susie continued to serve as a volunteer and a member of the St. Claire Foundation Board of Directors until her passing.

Public visitation for Susie will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, May 9, at Jesus Our Savior Catholic Church (315 Battson Avenue in Morehead), followed by a funeral mass at 1 p.m.

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