Florida hospital memorializes former N. Dundas resident killed in Dalmeny Rd. crash

A plaque honours the late Margaret Mitchell (left) at Highlands Regional Medical Center's new lactation room. Mitchell worked at the Florida facility for over 20 years. She and her daughter, Holly Booth (inset photo) died in a Sept. 7 car crash on Dalmeny Rd. Courtesy photos

Criminal charges for driver of vehicle that killed Margaret Mitchell and daughter Holly Booth

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

NORTH DUNDAS — A former North Dundas resident who perished alongside her daughter in a recent car crash was honoured this month by the Florida hospital where she worked as a nurse.

Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring dedicated a new lactation room Nov. 9 in honour of the late Margaret Mitchell.

The 67-year-old had been employed at the facility as an RN and lactation consultant, working there for more than 20 years.

Prior to that, Mitchell lived in the South Mountain area where she and her then-husband ran a real estate business and raised their six children. Extensive family ties remain within the North Dundas community and broader Eastern Ontario area.

She and her daughter, Holly Booth, 40, were interred Sept. 14 at Knights Cemetery in Inkerman. They died on the morning of Sept. 7 when their eastbound sedan collided head-on with a westbound vehicle that was passing a third car on a hilly area of Dalmeny Rd., near Osgoode.

This month’s posthumous recognition in the sunshine state was highlighted on social media by one of the surviving family members who attended the ceremony.

Hazel Booth told Nation Valley News that she was surprised to see the honour extended well beyond the new room catering to nursing mothers.

“When we walked into the hospital, there was this huge bulletin board that just had this little memorial, a great picture of Mom … and this [idea] of ‘paying it forward’ in kindness,” said the Perth-area resident. “It was a hospital-wide initiative… and it was a bit of a surprise for us to walk into the hospital and just go ‘woah.’”

“And we were greeted by my mom’s coworkers, her colleagues,” she added. “They prepared little gifts for us, and gave them to us just as part of that memento [occasion], just to be kind. “Because my mom is really hard-working, and always has been. She does a lot of good things, but she’s very humble, so you would never know. It was amazing to see that recognized.”

Mitchell returned to school in the early 1990s to embark on a second career as an RN, taking the job in Florida after finding it difficult to land work in Ontario. More recently, she became the hospital’s lactation consultant, similar to what is known as a “Baby Friendly” designation in this province, according to Hazel Booth, herself a nurse practitioner and consultant in the healthcare field.

Dedicating the new lactation room in her mother’s memory served to recognize “the work she’s done for the hospital, the community, and just making so many people’s birth experience a positive one,” she said.

At the time of the fatal collision, Mitchell was nearing the end of a three-month leave of absence to visit with her Ontario children and grandchildren and to plan for retirement. With two weeks to go before returning to her Florida job, she was staying with her newlywed daughter, Holly, at her recently purchased orchard property in Jasper, Ont.

The pair were travelling to see another of her grandchildren get on the bus for his first day of school, when their car was struck by the  oncoming vehicle in their lane around 7 a.m. 

Ottawa Police report that Sumit Darji has been charged with Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicle Causing Death and Causing Death By Criminal Negligence.

See Hazel Booth’s Facebook gallery of images from the Florida dedication honouring her late mother, below.

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