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Eva M. Bateman Noles

Born on 4-5-1919. She was born in Youngstown, OH. She was accomplished in the area of Healthcare. She later died on 12-2-2015.
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Mrs. Eva M. Noles is a Registered Nurse, a Nursing Educator, and a former Director of Nursing at Buffalo's world-renowned Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The first black nurse to train in Buffalo, Mrs. Noles has retired twice only to return to train people to provide various levels of health care. She was with the Roswell Park Cancer Institute for some thirty years, serving in many capacities; with the Medical Personnel Pool for seven years, training nurses aides, and helping educate more than one hundred others as family planning nurse practitioners.

She recalls that nursing was not always a career choice opened to blacks. In 1936, when she applied to the Buffalo City Hospital's three-year diploma nursing school, blacks were not accepted. On a dare from a friend, Mrs. Noles applied and to her surprise, was accepted. It was a case, she believes, of being in the right place at the right time. But if it was a stroke of luck, which resulted in her timely application, it was hard work and a fight against racial discrimination that enabled her to succeed.

Although she was admitted to the nursing program at the hospital that later became E.J. Meyer, and today the Erie County Medical Center, she was not fully accepted in the school and encountered many subtle forms of racial prejudice. At the senior dinner dance, Mrs. Noles and her date were asked to leave. The only blacks allowed at such events, it seemed, were the serving people. Mrs. Noles and her companion did not fit this category.

Prejudice did not end with her diploma from the School of Nursing. It followed her into her first years of working at her profession. As the first black staff nurse to be hired at RPMI, however, her courage and determination led her up the ladder to become a head nurse. Pushing a bit harder, she was named an instructor of nursing and then assistant director of nursing. During her last three years at RPMI, she became Director of Nursing. Today, in addition to having earned the R.N. designation, she also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the State University at Buffalo and the Master of Arts degree in education.

After retiring from RPMI, Mrs. Noles worked on a federal grant to train nurse practitioners. Later joining Medical Personnel Pool as a home care supervisor, she then was named staff developer for the firm. Today, she is busy training nurses' aides through a state training grant. Mrs. Noles' early education at Hutchinson Central High School, now Hutchinson Technical High School, included courses in mathematics, science, and chemistry, which were prerequisites for nursing education.

Today, Mrs. Noles serves on the New York State Board of Nursing the New York State Nurses Association District One, and has been an active member of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and many of its national committees. The responsibilities she has had in connection with the ANA have given her the opportunity to attend meetings around the world, which in turn have allowed her to share her knowledge of nursling's growing role in health care. Mrs. Noles has served on the Buffalo General Hospital Board of Trustees, she has been the chairwoman of the governing board of the Community Mental Health Center of the hospital, and she has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Her service as a volunteer with the local American Red Cross has earned her a national award, and her contributions to nursing and her community have garnered her many others. The Medical Personnel Pool has established a five-year scholarship and the New York State Nurses Association, District One, will present it in Mrs. Noles' name at its annual dinner each year. The scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding senior minority nursing student in Western New York.

She estimates her volunteer work accounted for at least one-third of her time prior to retirement and now takes at least three-quarters. In addition, she still makes time for her home and family.

Despite her current responsibilities, she spends as much time as possible continuing to help others. Struggling against impressive odds and coming out on top has been a pattern for Mrs. Noles, but she insists it has been more than a matter of luck.

Mrs. Noles is the recipient of the Uncrowned Queens Institute's Culture Keepers award for outstanding contributions to African American culture in WNY. She accepted her award in-person during the Institute's second annual conference, Commemorating Our Past, Preserving Our Present, Sustaining Our Future, held on November 16, 2002.

Mrs. Noles is the author of Black History: A Different Approach - A Compilation (Buffalo, NY Noles Publishing, 1988); Buffalo's Blacks: Talking Proud (Buffalo, NY Noles Publishing, 1986); and Six Decades of Nursing at Roswell Park, 1914-1974 (Buffalo, Roswell Park, 1975).

""Success is hard work,"" she says, ""and getting an education is number one. Then using this knowledge to gain what you want and being prepared is the key."" She adds, however, that being broadminded and overlooking some of the remarks and innuendoes also will help people reach their goals.

Mrs. Noles is sister to the late Donnie Duke, another Uncrowned Queen.

Read/watch an oral history interview with Mrs. Noles and Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold at the following link: http://library.buffalo.edu/specialcollections/exhibits/noles/oral_history.htm