The name Deltina was in the U.S. baby name data for one year only in the mid-1950s:
- 1958: unlisted
- 1957: unlisted
- 1956: 6 baby girls named Deltina [debut]
- 1955: unlisted
- 1954: unlisted
Why? Because of a sad news story.
On March 24, 1956, 7-year-old Deltina “Tina” Norvall of Tennessee got too close to a burning trash pile. A spark from the flame landed on her dress, the dress caught fire, and she received third-degree burns to over 65% of her body.
She had two major skin graft operations — one with the help of a donor, Pfc. Gene E. McDonald (pictured above). Ultimately, though, neither operation was successful. Deltina died on May 12.
Deltina…was happily munching a cherry popsicle seconds before her death. She had craved the treat for days. She looked at a friend, Mrs. Mary Summers, who had brought her the popsicle, and said: “I feel so funny. Something is happening.” She closed her eyes and died.
Newspapers nationwide covered the story, but Nashville newspaper The Tennessean followed Deltina’s seven-week ordeal particularly closely.
(It looks like her name was inspired by the middle name of her father, William Delton Norvall, who had drowned while swimming less than a year earlier, tragically.)
What are your thoughts on the baby name Deltina?
Source: “Plucky Little Girl Loses Fight Of Life.” Lubbock Morning Avalanche 14 May 1956: 8.