NASSAWADOX VA   A bronze sculpture of three life-sized mallards is a new addition to the lobby at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, thanks to a generous donation by Mrs. Melanie Parkhurst of Pungoteague.

Cast in bronze and mounted on a pedestal, the Mallard Trio was created by local sculptor David Turner of Turner Sculpture in Onley.  Parkhurst donated the piece to Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in memory of her husband, Edwin H. Parkhurst Jr., who died in 1991 after a battle with cancer.

"We are so very grateful for Mrs. Parkhurst's generous donation," said Dr. Susan McAndrews, Administrator at Riverside Shore Memorial.  "The Mallard Trio is a beautiful work crafted by a talented local artist, and we are thrilled to showcase it prominently for the enjoyment of everyone who enters our hospital."

Parkhurst presented the sculpture on Feb. 20 to McAndrews who accepted it on behalf of Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital.

Parkhurst owns about 20 Turner Sculpture pieces, and this is the second she has donated.  She donated the first, Preening Heron, to the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club, also in memory of her husband.  The Mallard Trio was made in particular for a waterfront property she owned.  She has since put the house up for sale and decided to give the sculpture a new home at the hospital.  "This one needs to go someplace where people can see it and really admire it," Parkhurst said.  "I thought it would look great at the new hospital when it opens.  It's local art by a renowned sculptor."

Edwin H. Parkhurst Jr. was a remarkable man, Parkhurst said.  "He was really a genius," she said.  He owned an automobile parts manufacturing plant in Ohio, with outlets in California and Texas, and a jewelry business and the Bowman Technical School, both of which operated out of a historic building in Lancaster, Pa.  He taught clock-making and held patents in air brakes.

"He was the most unassuming man," Parkhurst recalled.  "He would never brag.  He would never say 'I own.'  He would say, 'I'm associated with.'''

The couple lived in Lancaster but spent weekends on the Eastern Shore.  "It was like living in another world," she said of the Eastern Shore.  "The people down here are friendlier.  In Lancaster, you don't talk to anybody.  Down here, you talk to everybody.  Going to the post office, you say hello to whoever's there.  It's a very friendly place, and a very caring place."

Parkhurst, who grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., has an interest in cars — she owns seven convertibles, including a brand-new Corvette she got for her 80th birthday — and in restoring historic homes.  She has restored or preserved about a dozen homes on the Eastern Shore, including the 1815 home she's living in now.  She volunteers with the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society, is a lifetime member of the Maryland Historical Society and is a member of historical associations in Lancaster.  "That's what keeps me going.  That's what keeps you young — doing things," she said.

She and her husband have been donors to the hospital in the past, and she also supports the hospital through her long-term membership in the Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

"I have been getting calls on how impressive it is," Parkhurst said of the sculpture she donated.  "I just wanted it to have a good home.  I feel wonderful that it has a good home and people appreciate it."

"Gifts such as Mrs. Parkhurst's make Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital the asset to the community that it is today.  The hospital is here to serve the community, but we're also supported by the community.  We are grateful for that support," McAndrews said.

Riverside Health System and Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital are not-for-profit organizations with the mission to "care for others as we would care for those we love – to enhance their well-being and improve their health".  Voluntary contributions are used to fund improvements in patient care services, to purchase equipment, to building new facilities, and to support the future of Riverside's services on the Eastern Shore.  Contributions are welcome now or when the new hospital is built.  Learn more at

Published: March 17, 2014