The Miami Herald, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003
Maude Hoyt, 99, nurse aided victims of Hindenburg disaster.
Maude Leslie King Hoyt, a longtime resident of Coral Gables, died Wednesday in Falls Church, Va., from complications of pneumonia. She was 99.
Hoyt, a native of West Virginia, was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Republican Women's Club. She was the widow of Dr. Charles Freeland Hoyt, a Purple Heart veteran of World War II who was a Navy dental officer for 31 years.
After his retirement from the Navy in 1961, Dr. Hoyt took over a dental practice at Brickell Avenue and Coral Way in Miami. His wife, a registered nurse, assisted him with the practice until his death in 1971.
Maude Hoyt had many passions, including her family and friends, conservative politics, the stock market, birds, animals of all kinds and collecting antiques.
Her life spanned virtually the entire 20th century and was touched by some of history's most memorable events. Her husband was stationed at the Lakehurst, N.J., Naval Air Station on May 6, 1937, when the Hindenburg, a hydrogen-filled German airship, burst into flames while trying to dock.
The Hoyts were summoned to help treat the victims. She recalled one elegant man whom she believed to be the Hindenburg's captain. He insisted that everyone be treated before he received medical attention.
Because he didn't appear injured, the doctors and nurses complied. The man sat on the edge of a bed and gave orders until he fell over dead, his lungs fatally damaged by the fire.
Maude Hoyt was born in Wirt County, W. Va., on July 27, 1904, in a home without electricity or running water. It was, according to her birth certificate, halfway between "Peewee and Buttermilk."
She was the oldest of three children born to Clark King, a general store owner and building contractor in Elizabeth, and the former Florence Davis. Her brother, Charles, and sister, Ruth, preceded her in death.
As a 16-year-old, Hoyt got a job teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. Some of her students were older than she was, though they didn't know it. She told relatives she quaked in fear that they'd find out and disobey her, so she became a very stern teacher.
In 1924, she received a nursing degree from St. Joseph's Hospital in Parkersburg, W. Va., and headed west for California. She worked at San Diego County Hospital, where she became head nurse for pediatrics because she strictly enforced hygiene.