Hospice names garden after Mary F. Holton

Messenger photos by Linda Dillman

The children of Mary Floyd Holton celebrate the life of their mother at a dedication of a memorial garden at Loving Care Hospice in London on Nov. 6 (from left) Julia Todd, Jan Betz, Susan Holton and Tom Holton. 

(From left) Loving Care Hospice board members Richard Dible, Mary Miller and Andrew Hart, along with finance commit-tee president Gary Bogan (far right) celebrate the end of payments on Loving Care Hospice’s South Oak Street building in London. A mortgage burning cere-mony followed the dedication of the Mary Floyd Holton Memorial Garden. Executive Director Wendy Starr said it was fitting the hospice burned the mortgage on the same day the garden was dedicated because Holton always wanted the organi-zation to own the building free and clear. 

A handful of snowflakes danced in the air as friends and family of Mary Floyd Holton gathered behind the Loving Care Hospice building in London to dedicate a memorial garden to the late philanthropist.

"Mary loved gardens and gardening," said hospice Executive Director Wendy Starr. "The garden came about through a bequest of the Holton family.

"She would always call and be uplifting and encouraging. She supported hospice from the word ‘go.’ We always appreciated Mary and Bill and the essence of their spirit. Having the garden here is especially significant because of her constant, steady, and low-key presence. The garden is a calm place in the middle of busyness."

Administrators said Holton was a "true friend of Loving Care" and through her and her husband, Bill, the hospice was able to purchase a van for transporting equipment and supplies to and from the homes of patients.

When a bequest was given in Mary’s memory by the Holton family, the hospice felt it was appropriate to create the garden, which includes a memorial marker, lined path, brick wall, reflecting bench, and landscaping installed with the help of Tolles Career and Technical Center Turf and Landscape Management students and their teacher, Jim Scott.

"Mary was one of my best friends," said Loving Care Medical Director Dr. Jack Starr. "Their door was always open and the coffee pot was always on. She was a very gracious lady and we wanted to remember her in a special way. We feel blessed the Holtons would do this."

Shortly after Holton passed away, her daughter, Julia Todd, said family members found journals written by their mother detailing references to one of her favorite flowers, the yellow violet.

"We went outside and saw that the yellow violets were blooming and asked Dad to dig up some of them so we could keep them (growing) in the family," Todd said. "They flourished and some of them are planted in the (memorial) garden."

Fall mums now line the pathway winding through the garden, but beneath mounds of protective mulch, violets and other plants donated by the Holton family slumber until spring. Daughter Jan Betz said plantings also include one of her mother’s peonies, ivy that grew in the Holton garden, and Mary’s beloved black-eyed Susans.

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