Skip Navigation

News Release index | News Archive

Posted: 10/8/2009

The first Native American to win the Miss Oklahoma beauty pageant in 1940 was also the first of her tribe to become a Hopkins nurse.

Ada Martyne Caudell (Woods) passed away on September 10, just shy of her 91st birthday. She attained two important milestones in her life. Not only was she the first of the Choctaw tribe to be crowned Miss Oklahoma in 1940 (and appear in National Geographic in 1941), but she was also the first Choctaw to receive a nursing degree from Johns Hopkins in 1946.

According to a close friend of Caudell, she was "a great person...calm, cool, collected. Very modest." Caudell had passions for playing the organ and reading. She also made weekly trips to the Choctaw Nations Museum in Tuskahoma, OK, where her buckskins are on display.