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Bruce, Maybel (1924-1994) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Bruce, Maybel (1924-1994)

Historical Note:

Dr. Maybel Elizabeth Bruce was born September 24, 1924 in Westboro, Massachusetts to Arthur and Velma (Walton) Bruce. She graduated from Westboro High School (1941) and from Wheaton College in 1946 with a B.S. degree in Zoology and the two-year prescribed pre-medical courses in biology, physics and chemistry.  She participated in medical and chemical clubs, basketball, swimming, the Aelionian literary society, and Foreign Missionary Fellowship (FMF).

Her fiancé and classmate, William Harro (Class of '44) was killed during her junior year while serving the army in WWII as a medical missions volunteer. Bill sent the engagement ring to Maybel's  father who gave it to her on Christmas Eve, 1944 while Bill was on combat assignment in Europe. Two days after announcing their engagement, Maybel received word that her fiancé  had been killed in Germany. They had planned to become medical doctors and serve overseas as medical missionaries to China. When she returned to campus after the holidays, she asked to speak to the student body during the special memorial service on Bill's behalf.

Following graduation she took a year's study at Worcester, MA City Hospital and became a medical technician. She received her medical degree from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1952) and interned at Harrisburg General Hospital where she specialized in obstetrics. She received 1.5 years of surgical residency at Worcester Memorial Hospital, a six-month course in anesthetics at St. Vincent Hospital (Worcester), and another 6 months of gynecology and obstetrics work at Episcopal Hospital, Philadelphia.

She was appointed January 18, 1956 to serve in Pakistan as the first missionary woman doctor in the history of the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society (CBFMS). She was commissioned on December 14, 1956 at the Emanuel Baptist Church, Worcester, MA. In 1957 she began her work at Church Medical Society hospital at Sukkur, West Pakistan until CBFMS established its own medical unit. She planned and established a 35-bed hospital for women and children in Shikarpur, Sind, Pakistan.

In 1970 she started a three-year course at Women's Medical Hospital in Pennsylvania and became a Diplomate in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She returned to Pakistan in 1975 and continued to serve as a missionary physician at the Shikarpur Christian Hospital.

In 1979 she returned to the Worcester area and worked at Fallon Clinic Ob/Gyn. She was also an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.  She was a medical superintendent in Pakistan from 1982 to her retirement in 1990. She was once a national board diplomat, Junior Fellow of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Fellow of the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Bruce died at age 70 after a three year battle with cancer in Massachusetts on November 5, 1994.

Sources: Student File (Bruce, Maybel Elizabeth)

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