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HOSPITAL'S FIRST CHILD HELPS MARK EVENT NAMED MARY MERCY, SHE WAS START OF A FAMILY TRADITION

When the first baby was born in Mercy Hospital's new facility in South Buffalo on Feb. 5, 1928, one of the nuns, who was also an obstetrical nurse, suggested to the new parents they might want to do something memorable to mark the occasion.

They took the hint and named their baby Mary Mercy McMullen, later to become Mary Mercy Robinson.

Seventy years and thousands of babies later, the hospital is celebrating renovations in its Maternity Unit and one of the first arrivals was Caeley Mercy Robinson, granddaughter of Mary Mercy and the third generation of the Robinson family to bear the Mercy name.

"We're just carrying on the tradition," said Matthew Robinson, the proud new father and son of Mary Mercy.

His wife, Elizabeth, gave birth Tuesday to Caeley at 6 pounds, 1 ounce.

And if she had been a he?

"I guess we'd just have to keep having children until we had a girl," said Robinson. "Or until Elizabeth called for mercy."

During a visit to the hospital this week, Grandmother Robinson recalled how proud her parents were of her as Mercy's first baby.

"My mother would stop people in the store to tell them," she said.

She was born before the hospital was completely up and running. "There wasn't any food service. My father had to go out and get my mother a sandwich," she said.

Matthew Robinson is the youngest of her eight children. A daughter is Mary Mercy Mertlbauer.

The new parents were both born in Mercy, raised in South Buffalo and still live there. He teaches history and economics at Eden Junior-Senior High School and she is a customer service representative for Bell Atlantic.

Elizabeth's mother, Joyce Ferguson, is a nurse at the hospital. Elizabeth worked there herself while attending nearby Mount Mercy Academy.

The new mom was an Irish dancer for many years and picked the name Caeley after a dance, modifying the Irish spelling of Ceili.

Caeley made her arrival in the Maternity Unit, which is undergoing $3 million in improvements, including private speciality suites.

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