The Origin of Keefe Memorial Hospital, Cheyenne Wells
Honoring the People Who Created What We've Inherited
In 1931, Dr. Leonard N. Meyers established a hospital in an old boarding house in Cheyenne Wells — a small farming and ranching town about 17 miles west of the Kansas state line and 140 miles east of Colorado Springs.
On August 22, 1947, Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis from Bartlett, Illinois, began working at Dr. Leonard N. Meyers' 16-bed hospital in Cheyenne Wells. The Sisters had been staffing Sacred Heart parish school in Cheyenne Wells since 1937.
The first Sisters who worked at the hospital in Cheyenne Wells were Sister Mary Luella Sopa (administrator, accountant, purchaser, and practical nurse), Sister Eunice (anesthetist, OB department, surgical, emergency department, nursery, and head nurse), Sister Illuminata (X-ray tech, lab tech, and practical nurse), and Sister Simonette (OB department, scrub nurse, surgical department, emergency department, and nursery).
St. Joseph Hospital of the Plains
In June 1948, the Sisters of St. Joseph bought Dr. Leonard N. Meyers' Hospital in Cheyenne Wells and named it St. Joseph Hospital of the Plains.
On May 5, 1963, the Sisters of St. Joseph opened a new 31-bed St. Joseph Hospital of the Plains in Cheyenne Wells; the Sisters sold their old hospital building to Mr. & Mrs. Paul O'Leary, who turned it into a nursing home.
On April 25, 1976, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis opened an addition to St. Joseph's Hospital of the Plains. The addition included a new area for patient care, a solarium, and a larger laboratory.
Cheyenne County Hospital
In 1987, after 40 years in Cheyenne Wells, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis ended their work at St. Joseph Hospital of the Plains. On December 31, 1987, the Sisters donated the hospital to Cheyenne County, which agreed to take on the outstanding debt. It became Cheyenne County Hospital.
Keefe Memorial Hospital
In 1993, Cheyenne County Hospital was given a new name — Keefe Memorial Hospital — in honor of Dr. Jerome Keefe, who practiced medicine for nearly fifty years in Cheyenne Wells, Cheyenne County, and the surrounding area.
Sister Joyce Prasalowicz, archivist for the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, provided guidance and sent information about St. Joseph Hospital of the Plains.
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