Mary Ann Zimmerman was born June 26, 1922, the youngest of five children, on an Illinois farm. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in St. Louis. While in nurse’s training, she worked on the polio ward caring for patients in iron lungs.
She entered the navy nurse corps in 1944, serving at Balboa Naval Hospital as a lieutenant during World War II. She cared for severely injured marines and sailors as a surgical nurse and on the wards. Recalled to active duty in 1951 during the Korean conflict, she was a charge nurse at Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi in Texas. There she met Lt. Henry “Hank” T. Stanley Jr. They were married at the Chapel at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia in 1952. She resigned her commission in 1953. Their first child, Henry III, was born later that year.
The next duty station brought them to Coronado, where Stanley’s husband was assigned to the USS Kearsarge. While in Coronado, son William was born in 1955. Their next set of orders sent them to Guam where daughter Barbara Ann was born in 1959. They were then assigned to Point Mugu, California, followed by Naval Air Station Alameda in 1963, where her husband was assigned to the USS Midway. In January 1965, Stanley’s husband, Cmdr. Henry T. Stanley Jr., was tragically killed in a Navy jet crash. She chose to return to Coronado to raise her three children.
Stanley was active in the Sacred Heart Parish and Altar Society. She worked as a school nurse at Sacred Heart School, volunteered as a candy-striper for Coronado Hospital, participated as a member of the Garden Club, practiced tai chi at Spreckels Park, and was an active member of the Coronado Senior Center.
In 1983, Stanley suffered a near-fatal ruptured cerebral aneurysm. She was hospitalized for three months at Mercy Hospital and for six months at the San Diego VA Medical Center in La Jolla. Through surgeries and rehabilitation, she was able to live an active life in Coronado.
On May 14, 2010, with all of her children and grandchildren present, Mary Ann Stanley passed away, leaving a legacy of love.