Day 2: The Meicher Family’s St. Mary’s Tradition

It started as a hospital orderly and unfolded into four generations of the Meicher family working at St. Mary’s and three generations (so far) finding their spouses at the hospital.

In his late teens, Charles Meicher came to Madison from his farm home in Pine Bluff and found work as a hospital aide at St. Mary’s, a new small Catholic hospital on the edge of the city.

At the same time, Margaret Renz was employed in the kitchen of St. Mary’s. When her father became ill and was hospitalized, she became friends with the young aid. After he served in World War I, Charles and Margaret were married in 1921. His Army training as a mechanic led him to operate the South Park Street Garage with his brother.

The family settled into a house on Delaplaine Court, where they raised their family of four sons and one daughter. In the early 1930s, the four brothers served Mass for Father Leo in St. Mary’s Chapel. One of the boys, Joseph Meicher, worked in the office at St. Mary’s before serving in World War II. He returned to St. Mary’s to help pay his expenses at the University of Wisconsin. And that’s when he met a young nursing student from LaCrosse, Frances Murphy. Frances graduated from the St. Mary’s School of Nursing in 1946 and married Joe in 1947.

Frances worked as a nurse at St. Mary’s until her six children were born – all at St. Mary’s. Joe and Frances lived on High Street, just steps away from Joe’s parents’ home on Delaplaine Court. When the children were in school, Frances returned to nursing.

Just as their father and uncles had done, the Meicher boys served Mass at St. Mary’s Chapel, and, just as their parents and grandparents had done, all members of this Meicher clan worked at St. Mary’s during their school years: Jane in the business office; Julie in Dietary; Jody in Dietary and later as a unit clerk; Jerry in volunteer services; John in Dietary and in the business office; and Jim in Dietary and later in the Emergency Room.

In 1978, Jim took a position with Plant Services, where he remains today, and younger brother John was hired as an accounting analyst in 1987. Today, John is director of Finance.

Jim has kept the family tradition of meeting his spouse at St. Mary’s. He met and married Chris Krajewski, an LPN at the time. And though brother John didn’t meet his wife at St. Mary’s, he is not far off track. John met Lori Scheibe at college, and she now works as a health assistant in St. Mary’s Employee Health Department. Two of John’s and Lori’s children became the fourth generation of Meichers to work at St. Mary’s. Their son, Joseph, helped in Food & Nutrition Services while attending school, and son David currently works part-time in the hospital pharmacy.

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