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Friday, September 9, 2022
Starts at 6:00pm (Pacific time)
Saturday, September 10, 2022
Starts at 10:30am (Pacific time)
Ethel Rose Finke Sertich died peacefully in her home and surrounded by family on August 29, 2022.
Ethel and her twin Edith, known to family as Bubbles and Tiny respectively, were born on June 21, 1923 to Jack and Estella (Bebo) Finke on the family farm near Parshall, North Dakota. The twins were inseparable as children and the best of friends. Health issues held Edith back a year in school, and after Ethel graduated she waited for her sister, working at the local general store and earning money for college, which they had planned to attend together.
Driven by a desire to care for their invalid mother, the twins enrolled in the Sisters of Saint Francis School of Nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Minot, North Dakota, graduating as the top two in their class. The nursing school participated in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, which was authorized by Congress to help alleviate the nursing shortage during World War II. The American Hospital Association credited the cadet student nurses with helping prevent the collapse of civilian nursing in the U.S. during the war.
Their program required 30 months of clinical experience in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics, followed by a six-month residency in a hospital or other health agency. Ethel completed her residency at Barnes General Hospital in Vancouver, Washington.
After the war she accepted a position at the Virginia Regional Medical Center in Virginia, Minnesota. It was there that she met Chief Petty Officer Peter Sertich, home on leave visiting his nephew, who was in Ethel’s care at the hospital. Their courtship led to a marriage proposal. Always loyal, loving, and adventurous, Ethel traveled in 1948 to San Francisco, where she boarded the SS General Meigs of the American President Lines for Shanghai, China. Ethel and Peter were married on July 1, 1948, at Christ the King Church in Shanghai. The couple loved their seven months in China and imagined retiring there; however, when Communist revolutionary Mao Zedong came into power, Ethel along with the other military dependents, was evacuated. She returned to North Dakota to stay with family while awaiting Peter and the birth of their first child, Reginette.
Peter’s naval service took the couple to the Philippines (where son Peter was born) and Hawaii (where son Steven was born). Ethel relished her time abroad and living in the tropics. Peter’s final tour of duty was in Astoria, Oregon (where son Phillip was born).
After retiring from the Navy in 1956, the family moved to Post Falls, Idaho, where they built their home. Their last three children, Estelle, Yvonne, and Odette, were born in Coeur d’Alene. In 1958 Ethel resumed her nursing career, accepting a position at Coeur d’Alene General Hospital. During her 28 years of service, she assisted with the move to Kootenai Memorial Hospital in 1966 and later to Kootenai Medical Center (KMC). Throughout her career at KMC, Ethel primarily served as a day supervisor, overseeing every nursing department in the hospital.
She was deeply respected by those who worked with her and was named Nurse of the Year by the Idaho Nursing Association. At her retirement celebration in 1985, she was described by then-director of nursing Patsy Sorenson as a role model who “exemplifies the caring which denotes the very best of the nursing profession.” Nursing requires a keen mind, physical strength, initiative, courage, and perhaps most important, compassion for others. In Ethel all those qualities were bountiful. She described nursing as an extremely rewarding profession that is very hard work, noting that she received 10 times more in return than she gave.
Soon after retirement Ethel turned her passion for, and commitment to, Hospice of North Idaho into more than 30 years of volunteer service at its Post Falls Thrift Store. She enjoyed working with her fellow volunteers, responding to customers’ needs, and even mending clothes.
She was also dedicated to her faith and church, St. George’s Parish. She played a major role in the Legion of Mary and the Altar Society, taught catechism classes, trained and served as a Eucharist minister, and administered communion to the homebound. Ethel was active in Catholic Daughters, where she was regent for six years. In addition, she participated in the Idaho Council of Catholic Women, serving a three year term as president and honored as the 1993 Idaho Catholic Woman of the Year.
Ethel was a person who made you feel good by just being around her. Her smile radiated warmth and sincerity. She embraced life, understanding the connection between giving and happiness, saying “the more we give to others, the more life force we receive.” We are all blessed to have had her grace our lives, a shining star who lived her faith every minute.
Ethel is survived by her seven children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other extended family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Peter; parents; brother LeRoy Finke; sisters, Lillian Blegen, Evalyn Bartelson, Gladys Lauf, Grayce Watson, Mary Ann Nelson, Edith (Tiny) Cherrey, Florence Deitz, and Joan Finke.
There will be a rosary on Friday, September 9, at 6:00 p.m. and a funeral mass on Saturday, September 10, at 10:30 a.m. at St. George’s Catholic Church in Post Falls.
The family would like to thank Hospice of North Idaho for their exceptional care.
Donations are not necessary, but if you wish to donate in her honor, please choose your favorite charity.
These services will be recorded and streamed live. In the event the service is interrupted at any time due to technical issues, the entire service will be uploaded and available to view later in the day.