Ethelen McClain Sartin attended the public schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from North Division High School, she completed the Associate Degree Program at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Nursing as an LPN in 1958.
Born and raised in a Godly hone, she was baptized at the age of 12 at Calvary Baptist Church under the pastorate of Dr. Melvin Battle. She was mentored by Mrs. Susie Ellis, her Sunday School teacher, and later became her assistant. She was a member of the junior choir in her youth and as an adult worked with the Calvary Women United, the Carol J. Halyard Circle and the Mary Church Terrell Club. She served as a key woman in the women and nurses guild at Calvary Baptist Church.
In 1970, acting Governor Martin Schreiber appointed her to a two-year term on the state board of nursing in the Department of Registration and Licensing. She was the second African American woman to serve in that capacity.
Continuing her education at Cardinal Stritich College, while working, still afforded time to teach her children the values of family, church, education and community involvement. Each of Ethelen’s children have graduated with undergraduate and post graduate degrees and one daughter holds her PhD. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
During the children’s growth years, Ethelen was a Den Mother for 4 and 5 year old Scouts; was a member of the YWCA’s Young Mom’s Club; a member of the “Fabulous Fifties Club” and oversaw the State Board of Nurses examinations. She held food and clothing drives for the needly and participated as a Board member of the Inner City Arts Council, whose building still stands today, at 7th and North Avenue.
Ethelen has traveled extensively and visited over twenty cities and several continents including Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico City, Mexico, and the eastern cities in Canada. Her passion is history, classical music and reading. One of her favorite poets is Kahill Gibran, whose most known work is the “Profit”. She has his complete works.
Presently, she is an active member in her church, the NAACP, and the Golden Heirs. She is a member of the Contemporary Sunday School class and she is enjoying this season of her life. Her pride and joy remain her family and she daily works to complete her first book, “ Old Milwaukee”, designed to inspire her grandchildren. Her family is included in the book, Milwaukee’s Bronzeville (1900-1950).
Ethelen Mc Clain Sartin is the epitome of what makes Milwaukee Milwaukee. She is valued, educated, Christian and highly favored. She benefitted from an enriched life in our city and she has transferred those qualities, those talents, those gifts to her heirs, who now carry on her baton. Thank you Ethelen, you are our model.