AP NEWS

Hoyer survived the bombing of Dresden to immigrate to the U.S.

September 21, 2016

A strong-willed woman who survived the bombing of Dresden in 1945, Maria F. Wehage “Mia” Hoyer immigrated to the U.S. with her husband in 1954.

After her husband died of leukemia a couple of years later, Hoyer, who was a nurse, continued her career, working at Santa Rosa hospital before moving to the Nix Hospital, where she was a popular surgical nurse for many years.

“She was only married for six years, and then … she was a single, self-sufficient woman,” her cousin Margaret Smith Garza said.

Choosing not to remarry, Hoyer liked to say that a man “couldn’t support me in the style in which I was accustomed,” Garza recalled. “She was just very independent.”

Hoyer died Sept. 12 at 102.

Raised one of 10 children on a large farm in northwestern Germany, Hoyer had fond memories of her childhood and young adulthood, in the years before World War II.

During the attack on Dresden in February 1945, Hoyer was working in a hospital on the outskirts of the city.

“She told me about surviving the firebombing of the city, and making her way back home, walking all the way (to northwestern Germany), almost starving to death,” said longtime friend Herbert Kriese. “That was imprinted in her.”

Back home at the end of the war, Hoyer was detained in a camp with other German civilians.

“When the war ended, the Allied forces were looking for war criminals, and everybody had to be cleared,” longtime friend Diane Kriese said. “Her job there was as a nurse in the maternity ward.”

Marrying in 1950, Hoyer and her husband arrived in the U.S. in 1954, settling in San Antonio where they were sponsored by relatives.

“They wanted a new life … a fresh start,” Garza said.

After her husband died of leukemia in 1956, Hoyer worked at the Nix for many years, developing close friendships with her co-workers while living in the King William area where she would “walk instead of spending a dime to take the bus to work.”

“She would talk about the nurses and doctors she worked with,” Garza said. “She would tell interesting stories,” including one about caring for singer Jimmy Dean when he was a patient at the Nix.

After retiring, Hoyer continued to see her friends, taking trips with them to Las Vegas and Louisiana to gamble.

“She had this passion for gambling, and yet it never got out of hand,” Diane Kriese said. “I think she enjoyed the fun of it.”

mheidbrink@express-news.net