Julia Angela
Rigutto Pagan

July 31,1921 - July 01, 2019


On July 1, 2019, a very special member of the Western Pacific family left us. Julia Rigutto Pagan was one of the first group of Red Cross nurses who worked the Western Pacific's blood procurement car when it entered service in January 1951. The car was named after Charles O. Sweetwood, the first WP employee to be killed in the Korean conflict. Julia served on the car for most of 1951 and would later remember it as a very rewarding experience. She was the last of the Sweetwood nurses known to be living.

On July 8, 2017, we were honored to have Julia and her family make a surprise (for Julia) visit to the WPRM and the "Charles O. Sweetwood". On hand to greet her was Charles' nephew, Bill Sweetwood. Julia was thrilled to be reunited with "her" railcar and spent over an hour talking about the experience and people she had met during the blood procurement drive. She also touched on her time as a Navy nurse.

Two months later, on September 9, 2017, Julia again visited the museum and took part in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the WP 106 / "Charles O. Sweetwood" entering service as Pullman private car "Pioneer". She rededicated the car and received honors and thanks from the Red Cross personnel and other dignitaries who attended. Her daughter, Cynthia, later told us that these visits brought Julia great joy.

Julia takes a blood donation from
Mrs. Frederika Peterson
During the ceremonies in Salt Lake City, UT, Julia takes a blood donation from J. Francis Fowles, President of Utah State Senate. January 29, 1951

Julia Pagan was born in Portland, Oregon to Enrico and Caterina Riguttto. She was predeceased by her husband, Paul and daughter, Mary Ann. Julia is survived by her 8 children: Tom, Dan (Denise), Paula Proctor (Michael), Cynthia, Denise O'Donnell (Hugh), Julianne, Valerie Hetherington (Peter), and Francesca; grandchildren: Nicole, Marcello (Michele), Lorenzo (Hilary), Chris, Jessica, Gabe, Mia Sheufelt (Will), Gina Maiullo (Jonny), Jackson and Pagan; great grandchildren: Natalie, Gino, Rico, Wyatt, Sawyer, Noël, Lucy and Esmé; her sisters-in-law: Gloria Pacheco (Joe), Judy Preciado, and Nancy Pagan; cousin Ray Rigutto, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Julia was a veteran Navy nurse and served on the "Charles O. Sweetwood" Red Cross Blood Procurement Car during the Korean War. She was one of the original staff at Washington Hospital. Julia was a multi-talented woman who served her church community and had a welcoming home which was accepting of visitors from all walks of life and ages.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Julia's memory can be made to St Vincent de Paul of Corpus Christi Church, 37968 Third Street, Niles, CA or Children’s Hospital of Oakland, 747 52nd Street, Oakland, CA.