Derry woman Mrs Ann Hayslip (nee Campbell) is pictured here recovering in a San Diego Naval Hospital after having undergone the first double heart valve replacement operation ever performed in the San Diego area of California.
Anne, originally from Roe Gardens in the Waterside, is fondly remembered by her big brother and regular ‘Journal’ contributor Johnny Campbell, who is now aged 91.
“Ann went for her operation in January 1961,” he recalls. “ They had to build up her health beforehand, including blood transfusions, after her youngest daughter Judy was born. It was only then that they discovered she would need two heart valves instead of one.”
The pioneering surgery lasted for five hours, Johnny revealed, and provided Ann with many more years of health and happiness.
The stunning local woman had met and married her US Navyman husband, Radio Man Second Class Kenneth Hayslip, while he was stationed in Derry. He was later transferred to the San Diego Naval Base in California, before they returned to the US Naval Communications Centre in Derry. Eventually the family ended up living in Panama City, Florida, with their three children.
Despite the best medical intervention of the time, Ann died in her sleep on February 5, 1980.
“Ann was only 38-years-old when she died,” Johnny recalls with sadness. “Her daughter Cathy told me that she looked beautiful and passed away peacefully, with a smile on her face. She was the baby of our family and was been loved very much.”