WEVONNEDA MINIS: Surgical tech spoke up for others

Della Jean "Louise" Wilson

At Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, she was more than a surgical technician. Della Jean "Louise" Wilson seemed always to be causing a little stir, or a big one. Wilson had personality traits that were guaranteed to elicit responses from those around her. Those close to her usually were eager to hear about the latest thing Della had done.

"If a doctor was stern with her, she would be stern with them right back," says Michele Colvin, her sister.

The spirited medical professional first had been a bar tender in Georgia before her first stint at St. Francis in the early 1990s until about 2007, says Colvin. Wilson found bartending to be an interesting occupation when she was young. It influenced the development of her very colorful and spontaneous personality.

Wilson switched to the medical field because she loved helping people and was thrilled to learn about technical things, such as how nuclear telescopes and nuclear cutters work.

After her first stint at St. Francis, she became a traveling surgical tech for a medical temp agency and lived in Arizona, Georgia and Texas, Colvin says. Wilson then returned to Charleston and St. Francis in 2009. She died Jan. 20.

Wilson's tendency to play pranks, poke fun and sometimes get downright righteous ensures she will be missed at St. Francis, where her memorial service was held.

People will miss her standing up for those who did not stand up for themselves, Colvin says.

"If somebody was not being treated right verbally, she would say, 'You know you need to speak up for yourself,' " says Colvin. "If she saw someone parking in a handicap spot, she would threaten to call the police. My sister was a very large woman and she was not afraid to throw her weight around. And when someone needed a hug, she was always there to give them a big ol' hug. She was kind of like a mama hen."

But Wilson's life stretched

beyond the walls of the hospital.

"The big thing she got us involved with were the Dragon Boat races," Colvin says. "I got to participate and be an oars person, a rower. She got in a boat and rowed, too. She was also very happy to do the Heart Walk, support the Angel Tree and gather supplies for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"She was a highly spiritual person, but not overly religious and believed that she had to lead by example," Colvin says. "She was a good cook and there were not too many cocktails that she could not make. She wanted to start traveling again so that she could see more of the United States. She was thinking about getting a Winnebago."

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705 or wminis@postandcourier.com.