By Maryellen Apelquist
This week Gifford announced a new-but-familiar face has joined the Primary Care team, Dr. Emilija Florance, whose connection to Gifford reaches back to her teen years when she volunteered at the hospital with her great aunt, Myrtle ‘Margaret’ Egerton.
Margaret passed away in 2010 at age 99, but her legacy of service and compassion continues to inspire members of the greater Gifford community today. She was a founding member of the hospital’s chaplaincy program, which was established in 2000 by the Rev. Timothy Eberhardt, Gifford’s spiritual care coordinator, and served with the group until her death.
“Having known Margaret Egerton since 1981, as her pastor at St. John’s in Randolph as well as in the early days of her leadership with Randolph Area Hospice and then with her as one of the founding members of the Volunteer Chaplaincy Program here at Gifford, I can say that Margaret was a remarkable person in more aspects of character, wisdom and experience than anyone who knew her could begin to describe,” said Eberhardt.
Before she died, Margaret shared with us a slip of paper containing a few lines of “Simple Gifts,” an old Shaker song, in her fine penmanship:
’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
At the bottom of the sheet, Margaret wrote, “Live simply to celebrate the hum of the human heart.”
For her part, Margaret found that hum by appreciating simple pleasures, like driving her jeep around town well into her 90s, and helping others.
Her great niece, Dr. Florance, continues her tradition of service.
“I love connecting with patients, getting to know them and the community I serve,” Dr. Florance said. “I also enjoy the variety offered by practicing family medicine. Each day is different and rewarding, whether I am working with a diabetic patient or with an expectant mother.”
Welcome, Dr. Florance, and thank you for reminding us of Margaret’s generous spirit.
Myrtle ‘Margaret’ Egerton
October 21, 1910 – April 29, 2010
Myrtle ‘Margaret’ Egerton, 99, of Randolph, died Thursday morning, April 29, 2010, at her home.
She was born October 21, 1910, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio; the daughter of Arthur and Madeleine (Purkis) Tebbutt. She received her Master of Arts Degree from University of Detroit, and was married to Henry C. Egerton on June 14, 1941. They resided in Michigan, New York, and Connecticut before moving to Randolph in 1975. Margaret had been a social worker in a Widow’s Bereavement Counseling program, and helped start the Randolph Area Hospice Program where she served as volunteer coordinator. She was active in the Gifford Medical Center Chaplaincy Program, and a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Randolph Garden Club. She enjoyed watercolor painting, doing calligraphy, gardening, swimming, and playing bridge. Her husband passed away in 1979.
Survivors include her sister-in-law, May Fyfe of New Bern, NC; several nieces and nephews including Jared and Sam Florance of Randolph, Valerie Florance of Olney, MD, Charles Fyfe of Raleigh, NC, and Lyne Fessler of Indiana; several grandnieces and grandnephews.
Funeral Services were held Monday morning, May 3rd at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Randolph, with Rev. Timothy Eberhardt, officiating. Assisting were the Rev. Beth Ann Maier, Steve Eubanks, and Pat Mayer. Shirley Baumann was the organist. Readings were given by Jared Florance, Nancy Wright, and Julie Vincent. The St. John’s Choir sang “Come to the Water,” and grandniece Christine Jones sang “The Call” and “Just as I am.” A reception hosted by the church followed, after which graveside burial services were held at Randolph Center Cemetery.
(obituary published by Day Funeral Home)