Tribute unveiled for hospital employee
Memorial bench honours former switchboard operator Mary Edwards
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 25, 2012 06:00 am
A permanent resting spot at the Sturgeon Community Hospital will stand as a constant reminder of the life and contributions of a much-loved employee.
Roughly three dozen friends and family members of Mary Edwards gathered at the Sturgeon hospital Wednesday to honour the longtime switchboard operator with a bench placed in her honour.
“This will be here forever and ever for her,” said Vickie Ford, former co-worker and longtime friend.
Ford orchestrated the purchase and placement of the bench to honour Edwards, who died in late February at age 77.
“It’s amazing. I’m thrilled. My mom would be honoured,” said Edwards’ daughter Barb Windsor. “It’s amazing that Vickie thought to do it and everybody helped.”
Edwards requested that a funeral not be held and, instead, encouraged loved ones to remember her and the memories they shared in a more positive way.
In the weeks following her passing, loved ones collected funds to create the permanent tribute, which now sits out front of the hospital’s newly renovated main entrance.
“It’s really a thrill that this is in memory of her, because I’m sure there’s a lot of people that knew her,” Ford said.
Edwards began working at the original Sturgeon hospital as a switchboard operator in the 1970s, moving to the current location in 1992 when the building was constructed. Windsor said her mom had a three-decade career as a switchboard operator with the hospitals.
“The people she worked with really made the job. She liked coming to work because she loved the people,” she said.
The people she worked with felt the same way, adding Edwards was like family to them.
“Everyone would agree … she was sort of like the mom of the hospital,” said Bev Hoosier, an employee hired by Edwards in 1986. “She would always go above and beyond. If somebody needed something, she wouldn’t say no.”
Linda Wilks worked with Edwards in the 1980s and said Edwards stood out because she always had a way of comforting people during tough times.
“I think she just really liked people,” Wilks said.
Ford agreed, adding Edwards was the perfect person to welcome patients and visitors to the hospital.
“She was the kindest face that you met as soon as you came into the hospital and she was just the greatest,” she said. “She made everybody comfortable and she was just a super lady.”