Ella Tatum Hester

Ella Tatum Hester, the daughter of Joshua M. (Jock) and Ada Chadwick Hester was born August 26, 1908.  She was born and grew up at Rising Fawn, GA.  She attended nursing school at Newell’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN where she worked during the day and attended classes at night.


After graduating from nursing school in 1929, Ella worked as night supervisor at Newell’s for a year.  She then did private duty nursing, which at that time was working for 24 hours and being off two hours.


Ella and another nurse decided to do some traveling.  They went to work in Memphis and from there to Mississippi and other places.


She married Vigga Lee Hester in 1937.  They made their home in the Cloverdale community of Rising Fawn and raised two sons, Terrell and James Donald (Pete) Hester.  This provided a break in her career which resumed about ten years later when she went to work at T.C. Thompson’s Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, TN.


Working the 3-11 shift, Ella managed a floor and worked in the Emergency Room.  She soon became evening shift supervisor.  In the last twelve years before her retirement, she served as assistant director of nursing.  After 30 years of service to Children’s Hospital, she retired in 1976.


Ella loved children and was an excellent pediatric nurse.  When interviewed at her retirement, she said, “The children are all such little dolls.  They can be unhappy and crying and you go in, talk to them, play with them and give them a toy, and they just brighten up.  Now we grown people–well, we’re just grumpy.”  She was loved and respected by all her staff.  The doctors also respected and depended on her.  One said, “If you need or want something, just ask Mrs. Hester.” 


After a long illness Ella died March 22, 1988.  She would be pleased that both her granddaughters are in the medical field.  Sherry Hester Moore is a registered nurse and Shellie Hester works for a lab.  Ella’s two grandsons are Greg and Alan Hester.


Written by Verenice Hawkins

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