Pauline Tedder Garden



PAULINE TEDDER GARDEN - The garden area around the flagpole at the front entrance to Wilkes Regional Medical Center was dedicated Wednesday to the memory of Pauline Tedder, the hospital’s director of nursing for 35 years.


AT UNVEILING - James Tedder (left) stands next to the plaque he un-veiled Wednesday, dedicating the garden at Wilkes Regional Medical Center to his mother, Pauline. With him, left to right, are his son, Dalton; his daughter, Miranda; and his wife, Cynthia.


Pauline Tedder Garden

Wilkes Journal-Patriot Staff

The garden area at the main entrance to Wilkes Regional Medical Center (in the area around the flag pole) was dedicated Wednesday afternoon as the Pauline Tedder Memorial Garden.

Mrs. Tedder, who died June 14, 2009, was a registered nurse at the hospital for 40 years, serving as director of nursing for 35 of those years.

James Tedder, the son of Pauline and Harold Tedder, unveiled the plaque in the garden area. The inscription on the plaque is, "This garden is dedicated to Pauline Tedder in recognition of her many years of service to nursing and Wilkes Regional Medical Center."

He was accompanied by his wife, Cynthia, and their children, Dalton and Miranda.
The event was sponsored by the Wilkes Regional Medical Center Auxiliary and the hospital, and auxiliary will help to provide maintenance for the garden.

Dr. Craig Bennett, an orthopedic surgeon who knew Mrs. Tedder since his childhood, was the speaker for the event. He said, "you could sum up her approach to her duties as director of nursing in two words: authoritative compassion or, if you will, 'tough love.'

Bennett's father, Dr. John Bennett, started the radiology department at the hospital. The younger Bennett said that, when he accompanied his father to the hospital as a young person, "I remember seeing Pauline in her clean, crisp, white, starched uniform with her nursing cap perfectly in place. Her gait was purposeful, with direction, and there was no wasted motion."

He added that Mrs. Tedder "was decisive. She toured the hospital daily, from the maintenance area to all of the nursing floors. She truly had her finger on the pulse of the hospital."

"She was always the same with an unwavering character. You always knew where you stood with Mrs. Tedder."

Bennett added that Mrs. Tedder "was an excellent judge of character." He re-called that, after his mother's death, and before his father remarried, "my dad had a gathering at our house to let everyone meet my future second mother. He made sure to invite Mrs. Tedder and Mrs. (Ruth) Graham, and I'm sure it was, in a way, to seek their approval. I'm certain Pauline let my dad know, "you have chosen wisely.’"

In concluding, Bennett said Mrs. Tedder "has trained many nurses here. One of her protégés is Sandy Sheppard, who is the new director of nursing at the hospital. The tradition of excellence continues here, and I'm sure Mrs. Tedder would say, 'you have chosen wisely.'

James Tedder said, "I had not realized until this day how fitting it was that the memorial garden is at the front door of the hospital. It reminds me of how mom used to greet her staff every day, and how she greeted families coming to see a loved one or taking someone home after their recovery."

"It also reminded me of how mom never viewed nursing as a career or a profession. She viewed it as a calling. That showed in the passion that she put into the care of individuals."

Barbara Overby, the hospital's director of performance improvement, said Mrs. Tedder "was such a special lady. She hired most of us who are here at this event today and was a mentor to us. She was always here to help and to comfort families in times of tragedy."

Nurse Managers Laverne Johnson and Leigh Combs also spoke briefly. They explained that Mrs. Sheppard could not attend the ceremony because of a prior commitment.

Ms. Johnson said that Mrs. Tedder "gave us a chance to be a symbol for the profession." Ms. Combs added, "I am very grateful that I knew her. She influenced me in many ways."

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