Cary Medical Center celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2014.  On Thursday, July 14,    the hospital held a special retirement reception for an employee who has worked at the hospital for more than half of those years.

Cary Medical Center
Cary Medical Center

Mary Lou Nelson of New Sweden, who managed the Cary lab for many years, and is well known for her expertise as a Phlebotomist, decided to end her career at the hospital and spend more time with her community activities, family and friends.

“It just seemed like the time was right”, said Nelson.  “I am feeling good, I have some great friends and I will still have so much to do.  I will miss my work, my patients and my colleagues but I will never be far away.”

Nelson began her career at Cary in 1960.  Having completed one year of college at the University of Maine she was home for the summer planning her next move when she got a call from a friend who said that Cary Memorial Hospital was offering training for the laboratory.

Starting in a small room in the basement of the ‘old hospital’ Cary Memorial, Nelson began learning the many intricacies of the hospital medical laboratory.  Ultimately the lab moved to the main level and then to the new Cary Medical Center.  Nelson was a key player in the move to the new medical center in 1978.

Over the 56 plus years of her service the advances available for the hospital laboratory went from the dark ages to a new digital, automated, and unimaginable technology.  Nelson saw the explosion in technology and noted how life changed for the professionals who work in the lab.


Over the recent milestones in her career at 50, and 55 years the hospital has provided Nelson with travel gifts to visit her family in Alaska and on the occasion of her retirement she received an engraved ladies watch and multiple other gifts.  The hospital laboratory held a ‘celebration pot luck’ in her honor following the retirement reception.

Her work with the hospital is truly not over yet.  Nelson has collected more than 5 decades of memorabilia from the former Cary Memorial Hospital to the new Cary Medical Center.  She plans to work with the hospital’s Public Relations Office to archive the material and make it available to the public.

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