Agnes Karoline Sylte

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Agnes Karoline Sylte

Agnes Karoline Sylte
October 17, 1924 • October 4, 2016

Agnes Karoline Sylte, 91, of Nashville, Tennessee died Tuesday, October 4, 2016, at Southern Hills Medical Center.  

Visitation was from 10-11 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m., Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Benson, Minnesota.

Agnes Karoline Hansen Sylte, the eldest of four children, was born in Brooklyn, NY to Wilhelmina Sandine Jødine Sommensen Hansen and Kristian Ulrickson Hansen  October 17 in the year of our Lord 1924. She was brought by God into His Kingdom through His Holy Baptism  November 13, 1925, and affirmed her Christ-Created Faith through her Confirmation in 1938, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, New York.

She attended Public Schools in Brooklyn, New York, receiving her Diploma from Bay Ridge High School with emphases on business skills. Agnes believed that God had called her to be a Registered Nurse, however, her High School Principle and Counselor, a rather domineering woman, insisted Agnes was better suited for the business world. Agnes was then recruited for a position as secretary in a large legal firm with offices in Grand Central Station Tower in Manhattan, NYC. After a year, even after having received a promotion, she knew God had called her instead to be a nurse. Following a discussion with her parents, they concurred that she should begin training to become a nurse. She went to make application at Norwegian Lutheran Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. The hospital was built and operated by a group of Norwegian Lutheran Sisters.  Upon the successful completion of her interview, Sister Matilda, the hospital administrator, a very firm, formidable, but gentle woman leaned across her desk, looked Agnes in the eyes and said these words of admonishment, “Agnes, if you do not want to die for Christ, in the service of your patients, then do not come."

When Agnes had received her Degree of Registered Nurse, she also received the award of ”The class graduate who most exemplified characteristics and attitudes of an ideal and successful nurse.” She began her nursing career in the surgical department at Norwegian Hospital where she was, after a year, appointed Head Nurse of the surgical department. She continued to lead the increasing improvement in the level of care given. During this period, she was sent by Norwegian Hospital to take a study course in the surgical care of lepers, living with them at the Brooklyn Leper Colony. When Maimonides Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn asked her to accept the position of Lead Head Nurse and the Instructor of Surgical Nursing at that hospital she accepted. While at Maimonides, she was accepted by the University of Minnesota Medical School for a course of study on the latest surgical techniques in operating procedures developed by that University. On completion of her studies, she returned to Maimonides Hospital to continue her work. Asked by Norwegian Lutheran Hospital to return there, Agnes accepted the position of Lead Head Supervisory Nurse of the Hospital Nightshift. During her time here, she was sent to take courses of study in psychiatric nursing at Rockland County Psychiatric Hospital, Rockland County in lower New York State. On completion of her coursework she again returned to Norwegian Hospital continuing her work.

During the period from her mid-teens to this current period in her life she was also actively the Director of the teens and young adult program, at her home congregation, Trinity Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, New York. During one of her vacation periods she took a group of teens and young adults to Minneapolis, visiting the significance Historical sites and churches. While there she took a side trip and visit to Fairview Lutheran Hospital in Minneapolis, which she had heard much about. While there she met the hospital administrator who offered her a tour of the hospital. She returned with the teens and young adult group to Brooklyn to again continue her work at Norwegian Lutheran Hospital. Shortly after returning, she received a letter from the Fairview Lutheran Hospital Administrator, offering her the position of Lead Head Nurse of the new, soon to open, Psychiatric Treatment Center there.

Soon after beginning her work at Fairview, she joined the meetings of the several hundred member young adult group, at Central Lutheran Church, in Minneapolis. It was there that she met her future husband, Leonard. He was completing his degree studies at the University of Minnesota and began his work on his Theological Degree at Luther Theological Seminary. During his time of study, Agnes and he were married  May 24, 1958 at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, Benson. To this union two children were born, Ruth Marie and Mark Iver.

They then served congregations in the parish ministry. Leonard was called to serve as Pastor of Youth and Education at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Pearl River, New York. When Leonard began full-time graduate work at Drew University School of Religion he and Agnes moved to Madison, New Jersey, where Leonard completed the work needed for the Master of Sacred Theology Degree. During this time, to supplement their income, Agnes washed and cleaned homes. Having been accepted into the PhD program at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, they moved to Nashville, TN. A few days after arrival, Agnes began working as a nurse at the Vanderbilt Medical Center outpatient clinic. She then accepted the position as Head Nurse of the outpatient clinic. When Vanderbilt University Hospital opened an Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, the Doctor/Director requested that Agnes be made Associate Director there, that position she held until she retired 18 years later.

Agnes Karoline Hansen Sylte was preceded in death, by her father Kristian, her mother, Wilhelmina, her sister Helen, her brother Ralph and her brother William.

God called Agnes from this temporal life  October 4, 2016, at the age of 91 and is survived by her husband, Leonard, two children: one daughter, Ruth Marie Sylte of Northfield  and one son, Mark Iver Sylte, his wife HsiaoLing, and four grandchildren, Alexandra Kristiana, Leandra Celeste, Karstan Bjorne and Cedrik Thorstein, all of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

To God be the glory.

Arrangements were with Zniewski Funeral Home in Benson.

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