On June 8, 2019, at 98 years young, a beautiful soul passed on to her next adventure.
The youngest of three daughters, Audrey Mae Lees was born in Rhinelander, Wis., Feb. 2, 1921. Considering herself quite timid and embarrassed of her tiny stature, her life portrays quite a different picture.
At 18 years of age Audrey left for California, accepting a position originally meant for her older sister working with abandoned babies in Los Angeles. As WWII progressed, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp (WAAC) was created in 1942, five months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Audrey didn’t hesitate to enlist.
On July 1, 1943, the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) replaced the Auxiliary Corp (WAAC), recognizing them as a true branch of the U.S. Army. By 1944 Audrey found herself at the 334th Station Hospital as a hospital orderly in Holandia, Dutch New Guinea. Audrey loved the Army and all it offered her, but in 1946 she was medically discharged after acquiring an unknown disease overseas. Eventually her illness was linked to the drug Atabrine, given to soldiers as protection against malaria. Audrey’s decorations and citations include the American Theatre Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Ribbon, with one Bronze Battle Star, WWII Victory Ribbon, WAAC Ribbon and Marksmanship Badge.
Heartbroken, she returned to Los Angeles and began nurses training at LA General Hospital, becoming a Registered Nurse. Her career of over 30 years was spent at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, Calif., working with quadriplegic and paraplegic patients. Her beloved home in La Mirada, Calif., was also the neighborhood’s first-aid station for every child in the neighborhood who affectionately called her “Sarge.”
During her time in nurses training at LA General, one late evening while alone in the cafeteria, in walked a young ambulance driver named Bill. By June of 1953 Audrey and William James Floud snuck off to Las Vegas. Students in nurses training were not allowed to be married at that time. Unfortunately, their secret was out after their car broke and neither showed up at work the next day. They resided in La Mirada and were married for 41 years until Bill’s passing in 1994. They had two children: Kurt William, who sadly passed away at the age of one, and Michele Denise.
Not only was Audrey a true trailblazer for her time, she was funny, spunky and loved spending time with her friends. She loved to sew and spent many hours creating “their” vision, whatever that might be.
In 2011, Audrey moved to North Branch, Minnesota, to be with her daughter Michele (Mark) Johnson, grandchildren Kyle and Kaitlyn Johnson and great-grandson Christian. Her favorite pastime each Tuesday evening was to head to the American Legion for a beer and pull tabs with the “boys.” She will be missed and loved by many.
Audrey will be interred along with her beloved husband Bill and son Kurt. A committal ceremony will be held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Thursday, Oct. 17. Please arrive no later then 10:15 a.m. at Assembly Area #4.