In October 2023, I had the pleasure of presenting a paper at the North American Division’s Women in Adventist History Conference. My paper, “The Invisible Seventh-day Adventist Medical Cadet Corps: Women in a Man’s World,” briefly explored the lives of four women who at one time or another were involved in the Medical Cadet Corps between 1938 and 1958. Limited to only twenty minutes in which to speak, my research retrieved far more material than I had time to share then. Thus, it is my privilege in this article, and in others in this series, to more fully explore the lives and contributions of these four women in addition to two more women who should have been included in the original presentation. Part 1 explored the life of Verna Lucille Robson and Part 2 introduced Kathryn Luella Jenson Nelson. It is my privilege to share part 3 below. 

Between 1934 and 1938 a number of Adventist colleges in the United States experimented with Medical Corps or Medical Cadet Corps training for their young men who might be subjected to military conscription in the near future. These were low-budget classes, and the teachers either volunteered their time or had it added to their existing workload. In October 1939, the General Conference adopted the program as the Seventh-day Adventist Medical Cadet Corps (MCC). While the General Conference voted a set of twelve recommendations to organize the training across the nation, not one of the recommendations addressed finances. Thus, MCC commanders were left to recruit whatever local expertise they could find, often on a volunteer basis. Very little is known about Josephine Stone, RN, but this single photograph suggests that she was among the staff for the combined Central Union MCC Camp held on the campus of Union College from June 3 to 23, 1940.

Josephine Rose Steinkraus was born on January 6, 1911, in Albion, Michigan. Her parents, Charles E. and Bertha (Wilke) Steinkraus, were both the children of German immigrants. The family joined the Adventist church in Michigan around 1895, thus, Steinkraus was raised in an Adventist home.

Steinkraus attended Cedar Lake Academy from which she graduated in 1929. She then moved to Wabash, Indiana, where she enrolled in the nursing program at the Wabash Valley Sanitarium and Hospital. Whether her training at this time reached the level of registered nurse, or she furthered her education later is unknown. While training as a nurse at Wabash Valley Sanitarium in Indiana, she became friends with Cecelia Stone, who introduced Josephine to her brother, George Preston Stone, a school teacher. George and Josephine were married on September 1, 1935.

At the time of their marriage, George was an elementary school teacher. After George completed his bachelor’s degree at Emmanuel Missionary College in 1937, in the autumn of 1938 the couple moved to Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, where George continued to teach elementary school. Josephine took a nursing position at Lincoln General Hospital. It was also in Lincoln that the Stones became close friends with Everett and Opal Dick. In 1940-1941, George was second in command of the MCC at Union College, often taking over leadership as Dick was more frequently called away to help organize the MCC in other places in the United States. Between their friendship with Everett Dick, and George’s own leadership role, Josephine was apparently called upon to assist with medical instruction for the Central Union Camp in the summer of 1940. However, her contribution went undocumented apart from this single photograph. It is unknown whether or not she was paid anything for her time and expertise.

In 1940, Everett Dick was director of MCC training for the central part of the United States, encompassing what is now the Mid-America, Lake Union, and Southwestern union conferences. Seventy-three young men from fifteen states attended the three-week camp either in part or in its entirety. According to Dick, who served as camp commander, “the program [was] run as nearly like a military camp as possible, with every appointment announced by bugle call, inspection of living quarters, guard duty, military salutes on the proper occasion, and even a few court martial cases,” which were “necessary to ensure the proper discipline and to teach the vital principles of obedience and cooperation.” While the training they received was intended to prepare them for military service, Dick was carefully pointed out that it was also practical in civilian life. “Only one fourth of the time [was] given to drill. A second quarter [was] given to first aid, another quarter to emergency nursing, and another quarter to the organization of the army and the principles underlying army duties” (Dick, “Union College Medical Corps Camp”). In his report, Dick did not indicate who taught each segment of the training, but from other events, we can surmise that his assistants, Orason Brinker and Walter Howe, led the drills. Dick himself may have lectured on army organization and duties. A certified Red Cross instructor would have taught first aid. As a registered nurse, Josephine Stone would have taught emergency nursing.

As the manpower demands of World War II increased the upper age-limits of the draft, church leaders decided to move George Stone into conference leadership where he could be exempted as a minister. Thus, in 1942, the Stones moved to the Atlantic Union Conference, where George served as Education and Missionary Volunteer Secretary, and promoted the MCC. It is not entirely clear what Josephine did, although she was home with her children for some years. Their children were born in Massachusetts, a baby girl who died in 1943, Allan Preston in 1945, and Suzanne Kay in 1948. Just after Suzanne’s birth, the family relocated to Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota. In the following years, Josephine moved with her husband to Iowa before returning to Union College, where he finished his career as a professor of education. While it is difficult to track her employment history, Josephine was consistently identified as a nurse, registered nurse, or a retired nurse until her death on September 27, 1981.