Photo Courtesy of University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives.
Research compiled by: Ty C. and Ebin R.
Dorothy Patach was born in South Omaha in 1923 to a family of Czech immigrants. She began her education at Hawthorne Elementary School and eventually graduated from South High School in 1941. Patach went on to the Nebraska School of Nursing (Lincoln) and graduated with her nursing degree in 1944. Throughout her education, she followed her father’s advice: “Just don’t become an educated fool.” Although her father supported her in receiving a higher education, he reminded her to remain informed about and involved in her direct community.
After receiving her nursing degree, she worked as an assistant operating room supervisor and clinical instructor at her alma mater for three years. She then moved on to Clarkson Hospital for eight years. During this time, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and a Master of Science in Nursing Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Patach began working with nursing students in 1956 at the Jenny Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa. While working at various local hospitals, Patach helped to develop surgical drapes and was involved in the testing of Formula 99 (which later became known as Dial Soap). In 1959, Patach joined the staff at the University of Nebraska at Omaha until she retired in 1989.
Not only was Patach a nurse and educator, but she was also an activist within her community. The idea of community involvement was instilled within Patach as a child. Her parents were heavily involved with the upkeep of the neighborhood and as they got older, Patach began to take over their responsibilities. If problems arose in the neighborhood, she felt obliged to assist with the situation. For example, when her family experienced plumbing difficulties, she immediately took action by consulting with the city to fix the sewers. Patach is also an avid volunteer. She has worked with a variety of organizations in Omaha, most notably with sokol centers, the Spring Lake Neighborhood Association, the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, the South Omaha Business Association, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Due to all her efforts in maintaining her community, Patach came to be memorialized by a seven-acre environmental area.
Dorothy Patach Environmental Area
Photo Courtesy of Jessi Thomsen (taken 21 July 2015).
Thanks to MIHV I got the rare experience to meet history in person. For example, I got to interview Dorothy Patach. I had no prior knowledge on her environmental experience, and I was really surprised to learn that there are such strong environmentalists in Omaha.
When I first came to MIHV, I didn’t expect to meet such a nice and courageous person like Dorothy Patach. She has really helped and changed South Omaha and Omaha itself. It’s important to know and learn about people who have had an impact on our own communities. It’s also important to know about history and what or who has given us a new viewpoint.