Old hospital should not be destroyed

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 3, 2003

Editor, the News-Herald:

Louise Obici Memorial Hospital was a gift to the people of Suffolk and the surrounding communities, a gift from my long-time employer, Mr. (Amedeo) Obici. It was also a memorial to his wife, Louise, and a final resting place for his wife and himself. Their bodies were just where Mr. Obici wanted them to be. No one had the right to disturb them.

Mr. Obici would have taken great pride in the Louise Obici School of Nursing. This nursing school was second to none because of the superior training programs and the high-quality students who came from all over to receive their training and lifetime careers in most cases.


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My working career began with Mr. Obici and Planters. I appeared at the doorway of then-Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, fresh out of high school and unable to go to college because of my family finances. I was hired and assigned to Planters’ large printing department, headed by Mr. Frank Krize. I began as a pressman’s helper on an old Mihle two-color flat bed printing press. At the end of the first day, I had about as much ink on my skin and clothing then was on the display cartons printed.

After more than 40 years, I retired in 1986. Over the years I was trained by Planters to set up, operate and maintain dozens of printer and paper-cutting machinery of all sizes and types.

Now, getting back to our hospital and its fate: The old hospital, the grounds and the nursing school building still remain a gift from Mr. Obici as far as I am concerned. Even though it has been abandoned in favor of a state-of-the-art hospital where, instead of a gentle touch from a pretty nurse, a patient is more or less an electronic object.

My first choice would be to see the old Louise Obici Memorial Hospital signs put back up and the lights go back on and to see the hustle and bustle of a warm, caring and beloved hospital come back to life.

My second choice would be to make something out of the building and grounds that the young, old and all races could share. Whatever, I would like to see Louise Obici’s name in full posted again.

My third choice would be to try and get Norfolk Sentara to buy or lease at a fair price and move right in soon.

Bring Mr. Obici’s wishes back to life and let their spirits rest at home. I know that like Dr. Martin Luther King’s &uot;I Have a Dream&uot; speech, I am afraid in my case it may never be anything but a dream.

Clarence L. Jones