For more than 40 years, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital patients and families have been made to smile by the skillful hands of one dedicated volunteer, Marguerite Oberg, whose creative flower arrangements have been brightening patient rooms for decades.
Now 91-years-old, Marguerite retired from the hospital flower shop last month, after 40 years of volunteer service.
Marguerite established the hospital’s first flower shop when she began volunteering at Saint Joseph’s in 1973, back when the hospital was originally located in downtown Atlanta.
On Thursday, Oct. 10, a ceremony was held to name the shop, filled with the fragrance of roses and lilies, the Marguerite Oberg Flower Shop. Marguerite and her family members attended the event, as did many Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital employees and auxiliary staff. “Because of her years of dedication and service to the hospital, naming the flower shop after Marguerite is a special way we can honor her work and her commitment to the hospital, its patients, and staff,” says Marcia Schwefler, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary President.
The Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital flower shop, which is located inside of the hospital’s gift shop, is the only hospital flower shop in the Southeast that continues to make its own arrangements in-house. Most hospitals contract with a flower service and have ready-made arrangements brought in. The Emory Saint Joseph’s flower shop also makes all the flower arrangements for the hospital’s receptions, events, weddings, and funerals.
For years, Marguerite ordered the hospital’s flowers and picked them up each week from Hall’s, a downtown wholesaler, and then worked with the many other volunteers in the flower shop to create beautiful arrangements.
“I loved my work at the hospital flower shop for the 40 years I was there and am touched the shop has been named after me,” says Marguerite. “It takes a team of dedicated ladies to produce the amount of flower arrangements we did for all those years, and we made a great team. The hospital was always so gracious to create a nice working space for us.”
Marguerite, who also served as auxiliary president, dedicated her work to hospital volunteering after her own serious illness. She survived after being hospitalized for 19 days with appendix complications. When she recovered, Marguerite knew she wanted to volunteer her time in a hospital.
“Marguerite Oberg personifies virtue, service and generosity,” says Sister Valentina Sheridan, director of Mission Integration at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. “Volunteers throughout the years have been continually inspired by her leadership and example.
Marguerite’s special gift for arranging flowers has been a particular blessing to patients, families, and staff, and Saint Joseph’s Hospital has been richly blessed by Marguerite’s financial gifts, commitment of time and abundant energy.”
To honor this very special member of the Emory Saint Joseph’s community and her years of dedication, a special plaque notating “The Marguerite Oberg Flower Shop” now hangs at the entrance of the shop.