After 60 years as a nurse, including four and a half decades with Odessa Regional Medical Center, Gwyna Moersch has retired.

“I was here the day they opened the hospital,” Moersch said. “I’m the only one left that was here then.”

Moersch officially retired in June. The 83-year-old was born in Kermit and went to nursing school in San Angelo on a scholarship, graduating in 1960. As long as she can remember, Moersch said she had planned to become a nurse.

Her very first job was at a hospital nursery in Neenah, Wis. She also worked for Medical Center Hospital.

“… When they opened this hospital in 1975, Medical Center stopped doing L&D (labor and delivery) … Most people don’t remember that, but we were the only hospital to have a baby (unit) at that time for several years. And then they reopened it over there. They even have an NICU, but in the past they didn’t,” Moersch said.

NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit. She had the first of three sons when she was living there. She has nine grandchildren. Her late husband, Clayton, served in the Air Force and Navy.

A caregiver all her life, Moersch, 83, said she didn’t want to stop nursing, but she had to because of macular degeneration.

“I’ve worked with some wonderful people over the years, not just nurses and doctors, but everybody else, even housekeeping, diety. Everybody has a hand in it; labs, x-rays,” Moersch said.

What she has enjoyed most are the people she’s worked with and the friendships she’s formed.

“I’ve got a reputation for taking cakes and cookies all the time,” Moersch said.

Nursing is hard work and long hours, but Moersch said it was all worth it.

“I’m just grateful that they put up with me all these years,” she added.

Stacey Brown, president of ORMC, said employees such as Moersch are a rare find in the workforce today.

“It’s amazing that she has been part of our hospital’s growth since it first opened its doors in 1975. We are incredibly grateful to have had Gwyna as part of our ORMC family all these years and wish her the absolute best in this new chapter of her life,” Brown said.