Postcard views of Notre Dame


St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Bend, the place were George Gipp died. It is believed that his room was the one directly above the front door entrance.


The following is an article about Gipp’s last days at St. Joseph’s Hospital from the August 3, 1979 South Bend Tribune. There are some interesting reminicences by a young nurse who met George the night he admitted himself to the hospital.

"The Gipper’s" St. Joe wing : A memory. 

By Deanna Francis

The pages are missing from the fragile patients register at St. Jospeph’s Hospital, but hospital officials are keenly aware that « The Gipper, » Notre Dame football great George Gipp, died in December 1920, in a room at the old hospital wing soon to be torn down.

The name of the hospital and supposed scenes from the hospital at the time of Gipp’s death figured prominently in a film about Knute Rockne.

And a nurse, trained at the hospital, remembers Gipp’s hospital stay and death very well. She found the movie version quite unlike the the actual event.

"My dear, I was 17 years old : my heart was down at my knees," the former nurse said, claiming there was no way she would not recognise Gipp.

The nurse, who adamantly refuses to have her name used, pleading a reluctance to acknowledge her age, said she was in the front hall on her was to class when she saw a taxi pull up and Gipp get out. When he walked in, he asked her where the office was. She pointed the way and he went off to admit himself.

In the film, she said, they had Gipp come into the emergency room. Not so, she says.

And in the movie, the phones continually were ringing. Not so, she laughingly recalled ; there was only one telephone in the main office of the hospital at the time.

Reporters and concerned persons crammed the main waiting room, she remembered.

Later during Gipp’s hospitalization, she was asked by one of the three nurses tending Gipp, deliriously ill apparently with a strep infection and pneumonia, to watch him while the nurses took a break.

It was cold in the room since the treatment at that time included opening all the windows in the room.

She recalled the low double sized brass bed in a second-floor room where Gipp lay.

"I prayed he wouldn’t move when I was there," she said, explaining he was big person to handle. But even in delerium, he remained still.

The Gipper died on Dec. 14, 1920.



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