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'Grace and love': Hospital formally dedicates lobby to Mary Knox McNeill

There was unity Thursday morning at McDuffie Regional Medical Center for the dedication of the newly-restored main lobby in memory of Mary Knox McNeill. 'Warmth' and 'love' were the words commonly used by each speaker to describe Mrs. McNeill.

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Members of the Mary Knox McNeill family - daughter Ruthie (from left), husband Don, Sr., and son, Don, Jr. - talk with McDuffie Regional Medical Center Board Member Rusty Lovelace during the ceremony.

"I think it appropriate to quote Alfred Lord Tennyson to describe Mary Knox McNeill," said Carolyn Langford, MRMC Foundation chairperson. "He said 'My mother was as mild as any saint, half-canonized by all that looked on her, so gracious was her tact and tenderness.' (Mrs. McNeill) served with her heart. She put her warmth and energy into everything she did."

Debbie Jones, public relations director at the hospital, said the lobby hadn't been decorated "since the early 80's," and now "this is a big improvement." Approximately 40 people came to the dedication and enjoyed the deep golden-yellow walls, accented with a blue carpet, dark leather furniture, and paintings in warm reds.

Ron Shipman, authority chairman, introduced the speakers for the ceremony. The Reverend Liza Marler, assistant pastor of First United Methodist Church gave the invocation saying, "May this room be a comfort to those who have family members being treated here at the hospital - room of grace and love, like Mary Knox McNeill."

Rusty Lovelace, MRMC board member, gave a tribute to Mrs. McNeill, highlighting the events of Thomson at the time of her birth, describing the joys and characteristics of her childhood and teen years, and the "warm and heartfelt" accomplishments of her life before she died of cancer.

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Mr. Lovelace talks about Mrs. McNeill.

Mrs. McNeill used to be chairperson of the MRMC Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organization, governed by a board of trustees, that promotes healthcare in the community.

"This is so reflective of the love that Mary had for our hospital," said Douglas Keir, CHE and CEO of McDuffie Regional. "She was a great person and a great friend."

A plaque was hung on the wall of the lobby by Mrs. McNeill's husband, Donald, and their two children, Virginia Ruth McNeill and Donald T. McNeill, Jr.

"The service was very appropriate. I want to thank the hospital board and members for doing this for Mary. If she were here, she would excitedly applaud the beauty of this room," said Don McNeill, Sr.



Web posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005











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