Estelle Garner Ptaszynski was born on 7 December, 1917, in Seagrove, North Carolina. She attended Elsie Academy in Robbins, North Carolina, and Campbell College in Buies Creek, North Carolina. She graduated from nurse’s training at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1940 and became a surgical nurse in the hospital’s operating room.
In January 1943 Ptaszynski joined the Army Nurse Corps. She spent eight months at Camp Butner near Durham, North Carolina, and then went to Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Kilmer in New Jersey for overseas training. Ptaszynski sailed to England on the SS Mauritania with the 305th Station Hospital in September 1943. She spent several months with the hospital on the Longleat Castle estate near Warminster, England, before moving to Oxford for one month. Ptaszynski moved with the hospital to Southampton in the spring of 1944 and remained there until August 1945. She returned to the United States and was discharged from Fort Bragg in November 1945.
Ptaszynski met her husband, Ed, while in the service. They married in February 1946 and moved to Connecticut, where they lived for twenty-nine years. Ptaszynski resumed her work as a surgical nurse when her children reached elementary school age, and continued her nursing career for several years after the family moved back to North Carolina and settled in Troy. Ptaszynski died in 2006.