Sparks Regional Medical Center - Van Buren dedicated its newly reopened intensive care unit in memory of a doctor for his 35 years of “extraordinary service and devotion to the hospital, its doctors and and its patients.”

Dr. Henry Edwards, who died Feb. 21, 2014, practiced internal medicine at the hospital from 1979 to 2014, where he embraced physician leadership roles including more than 14 years as the chief of medicine/ICU service.

“Henry Edwards was the embodiment of the caring, compassionate, intuitive, dedicated, passionate physician ideal toward which all physicians should strive,” said Mary Jo Brinkman at Tuesday evening’s dedication attended by hundreds.

“His compassionate care, clever comments, easy smile, sense of humor and dapper bow ties lifted the spirits of all who came in contact with him,” said Brinkman, Sparks - Van Buren director of risk management.

Aimee Arzoumanian, Sparks Health System assistant chief executive officer, said the hospital’s dedication to the community is reflected by naming the ICU in honor of Edwards, who was loved by his patients and hospital staff.

A plaque by Van Buren artist Ralph Irwin and Matt Meres of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville will hang in the hospital lobby. The memorial was donated by the Crawford County Medical Center.

Comments from Tuesday’s reception include:

“Dr. Edwards left notes on charts that were so clever; I wish I could publish his intuitive comments. I never saw the man without a smile on his face. I was deeply moved with his passing. I lost a very dear friend, not just a colleague.” Dr. Stephen Carney

“I will remember his smile. He would look at you with a look like ‘let’s get ice cream.’ He had a lot of interests and he was humble about mentioning them.” Dr. Albers

“Dr. Edwards just took great care of his patients, actually extraordinary care. He will be sorely missed. He was exactly what a doctor should be.” Dr. Griffin

“Dr. Edwards had a passion for his work and a genuine interest in his patients’ well-being. He did love his job. He was very compassionate toward his patients.” Dr. Robert Bishop

“All of my memories of Dr. Edwards are positive and dapper like his handsome bow ties. He had positive interactions with his patients and co-workers. He was a gentleman and always looked the part. We had humorous endings to our staff meetings called ‘the Dr. Edwards’ gripe session,’ but his remarks were never mean or unkind, always helpful and positive. With Henry’s passing, we are all left with a sense of loneliness and loss. He was my friend and leaves a genuine legacy to his family.” Dr. Wendell Ross

Gary Perry, who gave the invocation at the reception, noted Edwards was a humble and soft-spoken man who loved people and his profession.

“He was an angel to many,” Perry said. “The legacy he leaves is not just to his profession, but that he put the lives of others first.”

Brinkman also recalled Edwards was very “Irish.”

“He always wore green on St. Patrick’s Day and greet everyone with ‘Top of the morning to you.’ “