Mears medical campus is dedicated to farm family

By Mike McClure

Nanticoke Health Services officially opened its Mears Health Campus, located on Bridgeville Highway across from the Seaford Post office, with a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 4. The facility was dedicated in memory of Ray and Francis Mears, who once owned the land and ran a farm on it. “We are here today to celebrate new life for this land,” said Dr. Martin Cosgrove, Nanticoke Health Services chairman of the board of trustees. During the ceremony a plaque dedicated to the memory of the Mears was unveiled. “Without them this may never have happened,” Bill Mears said of his parents. The Nanticoke Health Services Mears Health Campus is an off-campus facility designed to alleviate pressure on the hospital’s the main campus. An imaging center and an orthopedic center have already been opened on site in the first step in what may also include an outpatient surgery facility and an urgent care center. The late Ray and Francis Mears, whose sons Bill and Rex were in attendance along with a number of family members, bought the land in 1942 and cultivated it for their first farm. Ray passed away in November 1994, while Francis died in 2001 at the age of 90. “We had the greatest parents that one could ever wish for,” said Bill Mears. “Rex and I not only lost a father, we lost our closest friend and mentor.”
“To think that two people were able to nurture and cultivate this land that God created,” Rex Mears added. Rex said he made a promise to his father before died that he’d be proud of whatever happened with the land. Francis helped her sons negotiate the deal with the hospital and knew what the land would be used for. According to Rex, she even dreamed that she’d speak at the opening ceremonies. “We did the work, but God gets the glory,” she dreamed she would say and Rex repeated her words on Thursday. State Rep. Tina Fallon, who like Francis Mears was a teacher, read a tribute from the state to help mark the occasion. “No community hospital is stronger than the support it receives from that community. Without that support we could not provide their services that the community needs,” said Ed Hancock, president of Nanticoke Health Services. The hospital purchased 12 acres of land from the Mears family. According to Hancock, the acreage will give NHS an opportunity for six more sites. “The community’s health care needs are continuing to expand. Whatever we do here you can be proud of it,” Hancock told the Mears family.

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