Former Navy nurse leaves $8 million fortune to University of San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCOs (KGO) -- A former Navy battlefield nurse who made successful real estate investments has left her $8 million estate to her alma mater, the University of San Francisco.

In a statement, the university said Dolores M. Staudenraus' gift will provide scholarships to students, especially those from the Stockton and Central Valley area where she grew up.

"We are deeply honored and grateful to Dolores for her faith in USF and her generosity," said USF President Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J. "Throughout her life, she demonstrated repeatedly what it means to give, to care for others, and to live with passion, conviction, and values. Her legacy gift will provide generations of students with access to the Jesuit education she treasured."

Staudenraus earned her undergraduate degree in nursing from USF in 1954 and later received a master's of public health at U.C. Berkeley. She died at her San Francisco home in January.

During the Vietnam War, Staudenraus worked as a battlefield nurse in the largest combat hospital in Da Nang, and treated soldiers wounded during the siege of Khe Sanh. She also worked as a recruiting officer for the U.S. Navy nurse corps. She rose rapidly through the ranks and retired as a Captain. She then returned to Northern California and worked as a director for the U.S. Public Health Service.

"I really did receive a quality education at USF," she told the university years ago in a testimonial about her philanthropic support. "My nursing degree prepared me well for a career that included teaching, consulting, and care of the critically injured in Vietnam."

While serving as a military nurse, Staudenraus started investing in real estate, a passion that continued throughout her life. Her real estate investments grew to include multi-unit commercial properties, and friends say she was a meticulous, hands-on landlord who would climb a roof to check for leaks.

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