Parker Family Honoured at Northumberland Hills Hospital

In Editor Choice, Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Already known locally for establishing both Partak Limited and Dalren Limited and being proud Rotarians (as well as friendly neighbours and supportive friends), the Parker family have also quietly supported Northumberland Hills Hospital as donors and volunteers.

Their most recent gift to their home-town hospital is a leadership-level donation to the NHH Foundation’s Exceptional Community, Exceptional Care campaign.

“Michael always used to say, ‘There’s no point in having anything if you can’t share it,’” Karen Parker recalled of her late husband.

“As she speaks, two cardinals flutter outside her kitchen window,” the announcement added.

“Karen explains her pleasure in seeing them, as these birds hold significant meaning for her family – making her think of Michael as well as her daughter Hope, who sadly both passed away in early 2023.”

The couple met in Brighton as East Northumberland Secondary School students. The high-school sweethearts married and moved to Toronto, eventually returning to Northumberland County to raise their family – Trenholm, Holly and Hope. Their partners Britt and Blake joined the family and eventually produced four grandchildren – Kamryn, Ryleigh, Hazel and Willem.

Michael’s career was primarily industrial and commercial contracting, Karen’s in the health-are field – first as a Registered Nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, then as Northumberland’s first female Ambulance Attendant, and then a Registered Nurse in the OR at the former Cobourg District General Hospital.

When Northumberland Hills Hospital was built in 2023, Michael served on its board of directors and Karen volunteered – first with the NHH Auxiliary and currently on the Foundation’s board of directors. She credits this service with opening her eyes to the positive difference community support makes to NHH.

When they were asked to consider a gift to the current campaign, she recalls, “the answer was an absolute yes.

“We wanted to do our part in helping ensure our hospital has the equipment required to care for our community.

“I think most of us hope not ot have to use the hospital, but that’s rarely the reality. We are lucky to have this gem in our community, and I hope others will see how important it is and offer their support at whatever level they can.”

In honour of the family’s long-time support and recent donation, the new community flagpole (which was erected last fall) will be named the Michael Parker Family Community Flagpole. Flanking the original flagpole that flies the Canadian flag, it will be used to recognize special dates and initiatives under the direction of the hospital’s senior leadership and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

NHH Foundation Chief Executive Officer Rhonda Cunningham acknowledged the generous sharing of time and resources by Michael and Karen Parker and, in recent years, their son Trenholm.

“I’m so pleased to see the Parker family name honoured in this way as a reminder of what they’ve made and continue to make possible for our community,” Cunningham said.

NHH President and Chief Executive Officer Susan Walsh expressed the hospital’s gratitude for the family’s support, and said the naming of the Michael Parker Family Community Flagpole is a fitting tribute.

“NHH has grown to the organization it is today because of generous families like the Parkers.” Walsh stated.

“Our shared purpose as an organization is People First. This is more than just wors, it is a goal we strive for every day. As we continue to work for health equity across Ontario, this flagpole serves as a powerful signal, publicly, that NHH exists to serve all people.”

For more information on the Exceptional Community, Exceptional Care campaign and information on how you can support it, visit


Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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