Minnetter Patterson Winfield, registered nurse, was originally from Lenoir, North Carolina. She was the youngest of six daughters born to the late Miles and Mamie Shade Patterson.
Growing up, Minnetter worked after school as a baby sister caring for the children of a registered nurse, which sparked her interest in nursing. In 1948 upon completion from high school, she enrolled in and graduated from the Kate Bittings-Reynolds Memorial Hospital school of Nursing located in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Minnetter moved to Coatesville from her home in North Carolina. She heard about Dr. Whittier Clement Atkinson’s work from a fellow nurse at the Winston-Salem hospital where she trained.
"I came here scared to death," she said. "I was young, I was leaving home, and I was the baby of my family, but Dr. Atkinson and his wife took me in like I was their own child." In 1952 Minnetter began her very successful professional nursing career as a staff nurse at the W.C. Atkinson Memorial Hospital in Coatesville, PA where she was employed for four years.
In 1956, Minnetter was hired by the Coatesville Veterans Administration Hospital, as is was then called. It is remarkable to note that she was the first black registered nurse hired by this facility.
A pioneer for many black registered nurses in the fifties, Minnetter faced challenges and barriers along the way due to prejudice – it was the late 50’s / early 60’s, yet Ms. Minnetter always maintained her dignity. Maneuvering and transferring to different departments in the hospital she moved her way up. It may have taken her a bit longer, but after 20 years of service, Minnetter was named Head Nurse, becoming the first black woman to hold this position.
For her tireless efforts to usher in improvements in work policies and practices, Minnetter became known as an agent for change. In 1986, she retired after 30 diligent years of providing quality medical care to the nation’s ill and injured military veterans. Minnetter’s career achievements and picture were immortalized on the wall at the VA Medical Center.
After retirement, Minnetter continued to be very active. Her friends described her as the “Community Nurse” because she had a heart for the elderly and for always being available when they were ill. She was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Passtown where she was recognized for her work in the Nurse’s Ministry and for her fundraising efforts.
Over the years, Minnetter was a Founder of the W.C. Atkinson Hospital Outreach Committee,
Founder of the V.A. Outreach Committee, Founder and President of the Retired Women of Chester County, Member of the Interdenominational Church Ushers Association (founded in 1972 by the late J. Emmett Hunt); Lifetime Member of the NAAPC and a member of the Household of Ruth.
Minnetter received numerous community awards and recognitions for her many benevolent acts, activities and years of service including:
At age 89, Minnetter peacefully passed away at her home on January 16, 2020. She was preceded in death by one daughter Regina Winfield; son in law, Charles Anderson and all of her sisters: Miles C. Dula, Mary Lee Custis, Ollie Thompson, Viola Berry and Mary Elizabeth Sims.
She will be missed by her daughter, René Anderson, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Services will be held 11 AM Saturday, January 25, 2020 at the First Baptist Church of Passtown, 117 Barber Avenue, Coatesville. The viewing will be held from 9 AM until 10:45 AM. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Alzheimer's Association in her memory.
Friends and family are welcomed to light a candle or share a condolence message on the website guestbook.