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Nurse improved lives of many children

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By Jerry Vondas
Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

It often was said that Bets Brewster lived her life in the service of others, whether they were the infants in her obstetrics department or military men and women fighting in the war zones of the Middle East.

Betty M. “Bets” Brewster of Brentwood, a retired labor and delivery nurse who became director of Obstetrics and Pediatric Services at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon, died Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in the hospital. She was 76.

“My aunt was like a magnet when it came to children,” said her niece, Nancy Brewster of Brentwood, who also is a nurse. “She loved children and was always looking for ways to improve their lives.”

Born and raised in Brentwood, Betty Brewster was one of two children of accountant Robert Brewster and his wife, Isabell Holland Brewster.

In 1954, after graduating from Brentwood High School, where she sang in the school choir, Miss Brewster took courses at Clarion University and the University of Pittsburgh, while enrolled in the Homestead Hospital School of Nursing, where she received her registered nurse diploma.

“And she continued taking courses at these schools throughout her career,” her niece added.

“My aunt began her nursing career at St. Clair Hospital in 1957, where she helped bring thousands of babies into the world,” Nancy Brewster said. “And when she became director of OB and Pediatric Service, she introduced innovations — such as allowing fathers in the delivery room — and championed patients' rights.”

Her love of children continued when, upon her retirement in 1992, she signed on as a teacher's aide at Elroy Elementary School in Brentwood.

Although Miss Brewster dedicated her life to children, she was always ready to participate in humanitarian services by volunteering for Brentwood Cares of St. Peters Episcopal Church in Brentwood, a group of men and women who collect items such as toiletries and send them, along with cards and letters of support, to troops serving overseas.

Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday in John F. Slater Funeral Home Inc., 4201 Brownsville Road, Brentwood.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or

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