For Alice Newton, Harmarville is a second family.
On Tuesday, Mrs. Newton, 92, joined in celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the rehabilitation section of the center that her husband, Rex Newton, helped to create after World War II.
What began as the Convalescent Home for Women in Harmarville in 1913 developed into the Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital in 1956 to meet the changing needs of the Western Pennsylvania community.
More than 100 patients, past and present employees, and community members gathered Tuesday at HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital to mark the 100-year anniversary of the Harmar center's opening.
Mrs. Newton was joined by her daughter-in-law Patty, her granddaughter Christina Gross and great-granddaughter Hannah Gross. The celebration was an opportunity to rekindle old friendships and remember Dr. Newton's vision for rehabilitation. His legacy has been preserved with the naming of the center's entrance driveway as Rex Newton Drive.
"We had a wonderful life together," Mrs. Newton said. "He had a second family and that was Harmarville. I am so happy to be here. This has become my second family."
When Dr. Newton became ill and later retired in July 2006, he became a patient at Harmarville. He died in August 2007.
Nancy Simons, director of quality and risk for the hospital, works in the same office as her father who was an internal medicine physician for 25 years.
"I came to grow up with this place," said Ms. Simons who has worked at the hospital for 36 years. "I candy-striped here. It's hard to believe it's been 100 years."
"My father loved the place. I love the place, and I can't imagine working anywhere else and wouldn't want to," she added.
Harmarville is a legacy of devotion to the community, said medical director Thomas Franz, who came to Harmarville in 1987 as a medical resident and hasn't left.
"We have been able to continue providing high-level care despite the changing health care environment," Dr. Franz said. "Its been a privilege to work here with all the patients and staff who have been here over the years that I've been here."
In 1996, HealthSouth bought Harmarville, and Dolores Ewing, who worked as administrative assistant to the center's president, ended her 17 years at Harmarville when it became a for-profit. On Tuesday, she came back to celebrate and see former co-workers.
"Everything was a highlight really," said Ms. Ewing, of Cheswick. "I still remember it as a home for unwed mothers."
A time capsule from past president Lee Lacey's retirement in 1987 was opened and Ms. Ewing remembered many of the items that were removed.
In about two weeks, the time capsule will be closed and sealed again with the items from the past in addition to items from the current Harmarville staff.
Plans call for it to be opened in 25 years for the hospital's 125th anniversary celebration.
By then, paper patient medical charts will be a thing of the past, Dr. Franz said as he placed the item into the capsule.
Claire Aronson: email@example.com, 412-263-1964 or on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.