October 31, 2017




Gladys Olmsted, Sullivan County’s first public nurse, honored with building


TOWN OF LIBERTY – Sullivan County’s Public Health Building, in the complex that houses the Adult Care Center and Social Service offices, has been there for many years.  Now, it bears the name of a pioneer in public health

A ceremony commemorating the renaming to The Gladys Olmsted Public Health Building was held Monday in Liberty.

One of the more glowing tributes came from a former coworker and retired public health director, Dyan Campbell, who called her a “consummate politician” who pushed hard for her dream to have a ‘real’ clinic. 

“When she went to the Board of Supervisors and started out with her thing on ‘the mommies and the babies,’ they were just putty,” Campbell recalled.  “She had like amazing thing because they trusted her.  Because she earned their trust.  She had the highest integrity.  She taught them about prevention and investment in the future.  And, they believed in her.”

Also remembering Olmsted was current Public Health Director Nancy McGraw, who said, “She truly made a difference in the lives of others and in the health of residents in this county.”

Her nephew, Eric Robinson, is an optometrist in New Jersey.

“Gladdie was more than an aunt; she was like a second mom to me,” Robinson said.  “She was a sweetheart and actually, she’d be a little disappointed right now because she would be wondering where the hay bales, where are the cornstalks and the pumpkins and why aren’t you all dressed in your Halloween costumes?”

Olmsted, born in Orange County, began her career as a nurse working out of an office in the dirt-floor basement of the Sullivan County Courthouse in the 1950s.  She passed away in 1977.

About 30 county officials, friends and family attended the dedication which ended with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Olmsted's nephew, Eric Robinson, did the honors.




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