In the heart of a world beset by the shadows of the 1918 influenza pandemic, a beacon of hope and resilience shone brightly through the courage and dedication of Romeyne and Sara Klingensmith. Amidst the turmoil and despair of what was the deadliest pandemic of the 20th century, these two sisters from Indiana, Pennsylvania, emerged as graduates from the largest class of the Braddock General Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1919. Their journey into the noble profession of nursing, at a time when the world was in desperate need of healing and compassion, speaks volumes of their bravery and selflessness.

The tale of Romeyne and Sara is not just a story of personal triumph but a testament to the enduring spirit of humanity in the face of adversity. As they stepped into the battle against the flu epidemic that claimed millions of lives worldwide, their actions became a source of inspiration for many who followed in their footsteps. Their legacy continued to flourish as they embarked on new chapters of their lives, nurturing families and fostering a loving environment where the seeds of compassion and altruism were sown deep.

A move to South Florida became a new beginning for Romeyne after her children were grown, with her family already embracing the local community and education. A tradition of caregiving and the pursuit of knowledge were carried forward by her children at Broward Community College, including daughters Dolly McQuigg and Gloria McManus pursuing careers in nursing and early childhood education, respectively. Since this time, many family members have also started their educational journey at Broward College. Additionally, each generation of descendants from both Romeyne and Sara have had at least one family member enter the nursing profession, creating a longstanding tradition.

Romeyne Klingensmith and Sara Klingensmith

In 1998, Romeyne’s six children established the Romeyne and Sara Klingensmith Nursing Scholarship and the Romeyne and Sara Klingensmith Memorial Endowed Nursing Scholarship in honor of their mother and Aunt Sara to support nursing students at Broward College. Since this time, 107 friends and descendants of both Romeyne and Sara Klingensmith have made philanthropic gifts to the nursing scholarships in their name. The children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of both Romeyne and Sara have honored their legacy together as a family and together they have made a tremendous impact on Broward College students. More than $100,000 has been raised in the past 26 years and has helped over 150 Broward College students pursue a nursing education.

“As one of twenty-six grandchildren of Romeyne Klingensmith Loew, I think I speak for everyone when I say that she and her sister Sara were greatly loved by all. It is natural for us to want to honor those we loved so much. The nursing scholarship is our way of remembering these two great ladies and honoring their lives by helping others.” – Ann Clements

The family has all been engaged in this legacy of giving, whether with updates being shared at family reunions to let people know how students have benefited from the scholarships to a family newsletter being sent out with updates about the impact of the scholarships. Additionally, it has been a tradition for Mother’s Day for family members to join together to make gifts in honor of the family matriarchs.
Together, the extended family has made a world of difference for those committed to becoming nurses. Scholarship funding helps Broward College students receive an education that equips them with the knowledge, skills, and compassion necessary to meet the diverse needs of patients and communities to enhance healthcare outcomes. The impact of nursing education extends beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics; it fosters a culture of empathy, promotes public health, and drives innovation in medical care in Broward County and beyond.

“Each contribution to this nursing scholarship is a reflection of my grandmother’s and great aunt’s belief in the power of kindness and the importance of caregiving. They were the heart and soul of our family, and by honoring them in this way, we not only preserve their memory but also support the noble cause of nursing. It’s my way of saying thank you to them for the difference they made in our lives and ensuring their legacy continues to inspire and change the world.”– Thomas Loew

As family members contribute to the continuation of this remarkable legacy, they do more than just honor the memory of two courageous women; they instill a sense of purpose and commitment to the betterment of humanity in the hearts of those who will follow. The Romeyne and Sara Klingensmith scholarships have become more than a fund to support aspiring nurses; they are a testament to the transformative power of education, and the ripple effect of one family’s dedication to making the world a better place. By nurturing this tradition of giving, the collective efforts of the Klingensmith family not only ensures that the spirit of Romeyne and Sara continues to flourish but also sets a powerful example for generations to come.