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Honoree gives back for Hospice Gala

With the Halifax Regional Hospice Gala set for Friday at 7 p.m., the staff at the Commonwealth Assisted Living is honoring one of its own by purchasing a table at the gala in her honor.

Eleanor Robinson, a 97-year-old hospice resident, was pleased to receive the honor and also decided to donate one of her own paintings to the gala’s silent auction to raise money for hospice.

“It feels good. It’s supposed to feel good,” Robinson said in an interview earlier this week.

Robinson has been a resident at Commonwealth Assisted Living for at least four years and recently became a hospice resident six months ago after suffering complications with interstitial lung disease, congenital heart failure and stage four renal failure.

Hospice has been very beneficial to her, Robinson said, saving her numerous trips to the hospital. 

In the past, the nonagenarian artist said she had donated numerous paintings and felt Halifax Regional Hospice was a good cause since she uses it herself.

The painting she is donating is called “The Shore” and depicts an oceanfront with seagulls flying in the sky.

Robinson said she started drawing at age 9.

“My father didn’t like it because I drew on everything in the house. In the bathroom, on the mirrors, in the windows, everything … so that’s how I started,” Robinson added.

She has studied and taught various forms of art including watercolors, oil painting, China painting and acrylics.

For approximately 65 years she taught art, and she described her favorite work of art as a China painting for Holland Mold Company. 

She taught at Kinderton Manor and even continued to teach when she first arrived at Commonwealth Assisted Living.

“It was when we owned our own home that my mother became involved in art. Actually, she was educated in art and studied art all her life but my recollections are that she started her art career right after we moved to our new home,” said her son, Edward Robinson. “My mom would teach China painting in our home in the evenings. I made many trips with mother to Trenton, N.J., where many of the ceramic moldmakers were located. She contracted to China paint many of the figurines for the Holland Mold Company. Some of these figurines were featured on the cover of “Popular Ceramics.”

 Edward said his mom first loves in art were China painting and oil painting. In 1952, when they moved to Westfield, N. J., his mother became more involved in the ceramic industry through her art and business contacts, and the result was the formation of Petal Products.

“Petal Products supplied specialty painting pre-cuts to the ceramic hobbyist. She developed a product called slip marbleizer, which became nationally famous,” Edward said. “I became interested in Petal Products and saw this as a great business opportunity. I talked to my mom about automating and mass marketing and advertising. I realized after all this that my mother was not in this to make a lot of money. She was just having fun.”

When Robinson’s husband, Walter, retired, she sold Petal Products, and they moved to Clarksville where she resided before moving to Commonwealth Assisted Living.

Together they have three children, two of which were adopted.

She is now proud grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother with nine grandchildren, 20 plus great-grandchildren and at least two great-great-grandchildren.

She is the only hospice resident currently living at Commonwealth Assisted Living.  The home provides for Halifax Regional Hospice to offer its all-inclusive services including nurses, assessments and providing medication and supplies needed 24 hours a day.

Halifax Regional Hospice will celebrate its ninth annual gala on Friday, and the theme will be “Come Cruise With Us.”  The gala will be held at The Prizery at 7 p.m. and promises to be an evening full of fun. 

Tickets are $50 per person and are available in the hospice offices. 

The evening will include heavy hors d’oeuvres provided by Ernie’s, a cash bar, both silent and live auctions and music by 6th N Main.  

For more information, call 434-517-3755.