A Life Well Lived – A Tribute to Bob Richard
A Life Well Lived – A Tribute to Community & Health Care Visionary, Bob Richard
On October 24th, former long-time CEO of Buchanan County Health Center, Bob Richard, passed away. Born with a spirit of service, Bob attended the Finley School of Nursing at the University of Dubuque and received his Master of Arts in hospital and health administration at the University of Iowa. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Bob began his career in heath care administration at Peoples’ Memorial Hospital (present day BCHC). During his long career, Bob served as an instrumental leader in community organizations, including the Buchanan County Health Trust and Knights of Columbus, along with statewide organizations including the Iowa Donor Network, Iowa Hospital Association, and the Wellmark Foundation.
During Bob’s tenure at BCHC (1976-2010), he understood the challenges and needs of healthcare. Bob’s vision resulted in many additions to the hospital that were ahead of the times; such as the ER revision and addition, the nursing home addition, Oak View, dialysis center, wellness center, and development of the specialty clinics. Bob also served as a hands-on administrator with his nursing background, helping fellow employees care for their patients in times of need.
“Bob Richard was a visionary who explained to our Board more than forty years ago what our future health care needs would be; he explained that our needs in the future would be exactly what Steve and the present Board has drawn up and accomplished to benefit the health of our county and surrounding areas.“
-Dolph Leytze, former Trustee.
Known for his heart of gold and strong determination, Bob was passionate about his family, healthcare, his country, helping those in need, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and organ donation. Bob was community minded and did not hesitate to volunteer for activities or support his employees in their volunteer efforts. Described as an excellent spokesman and promoter, Bob was always open to ideas to improve the hospital and his community.
“Bob had the unique ability to take pride in success, and accept that when things didn’t go as well as planned, that there were lessons to be learned from those experiences just the same. And he used every experience to help our hospital better serve the community. He was a superb leader and did an exemplary job of guiding our hospital.”
–Benjamin Riensche, former Trustee
Bob leaves behind many family members and friends, along with many lives he touched along his journey. Bob will be missed by many, but never forgotten for the person he was and the selfless accomplishments he made for the benefit of past, present and future patients, employees, and providers of BCHC, and for the community in which he lived.
Excerpts & information taken from entries provided by Dr. Duane Jasper, Julie Sproull, Kathy Post, Tara McEnany, Vera Cummings, Rob Robinson, Ron Timpe, Benjamin Riensche, Dolph Leytze, & Connie Brown
Read full quotes below:
“Bob was passionate about his family, healthcare, his country, helping those in need, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and organ donation. Bob served as a board member for the Iowa Donor Network (IDN) for many years as a healthcare executive and a kidney donor recipient (thanks to an amazing gift from Sharon Bainbridge) and even rode on the IDN float in the Rose Bowl parade.
Bob was a visionary and understood the challenges and needs of healthcare. He wrote his master’s thesis in the 1970’s on the role of Nurse Practitioners and how they could bridge the access to care in rural communities. Although several years later, his vision turned into a reality as PMH (now BCHC) began to hire nurse practitioners. What an honor for me to be part of his vision as one of BCHC’s first nurse practitioners.”
-Tara McEnany, BCHC Chief Nursing Officer
“I first met Bob Richard as a young resident at the Family Practice recruiting fair in Des Moines in approximately 1983. He was an excellent spokesman and promoter of Independence and to the hospital. After I came, I was privileged to accompany Bob and return to Des Moines to recruit other physician and was always amazed at his energy and enthusiasm, despite the long odds of being able to recruit someone.
Bob’s vision resulted in many additions to the hospital that were ahead of the times; such as the ER revision and addition, the nursing home addition, the dialysis center, and the wellness center. The community is so fortunate to have a facility such as the Wellness Center which is used by so many and is unmatched by any other community our size.
Bob was always a promoter of the community and was always open to ideas to improve the hospital and community in general.”
– Duane Jasper, MD, Medical Associates of BCHC
“Bob had a huge heart and would always go out of his way to help out everyone! He always treated employees with respect. Bob work hard to make BCHC an excellent hospital for the community. His vision for BCHC included adding several major projects: Attaching the nursing home to the hospital, Oak View Retirement Center, Wellness & Therapy areas, expanding the outpatient clinic area, along with building the dialysis center for the patients. Bob will truly be missed, and we all lost a wonderful person.”
-Ron Timpe, Former BCHC Chief Financial Officer
“Bob was an amazing CEO, mentor and a special friend that I am very honored to have worked with for 28 years. He was very dedicated, compassionate and determined in all that he did for the hospital. He made Peoples Memorial Hospital aka BCHC a special family which will go on for many years. I am very proud to be part of BCHC and what it has become. Bob will be greatly missed by many but never forgotten. GO HAWKS! (I had to do it for Bob!)”
-Vera Cummings, Friend & BCHC Employee
“Because of his nursing background, Bob was a hands-on administrator. There was more than once that he backed me up in the ER to provide timely and compassionate care to the people of our community.
The hospital was his second home, and as such, we were his second family. He made you feel important, no matter what you job title.
He was also community minded, and did not hesitate to volunteer for activities or support us in our volunteer efforts.
He was a leader, having been past president of the Iowa Hospital Association, and he worked tirelessly for the people of Independence, Iowa and the US (by promoting our Health Care Systems when he traveled to Russia.).
He will be missed.”
-Kathy Post, BSN, RN, Friend & Retired BCHC Employee
“One could write a book about Bob. I spent over 30 years working with him. He was very caring to staff. His door was always open for discussion of ideas and concerns. He was very pro community and wanted to improve health care for our community. Over the years, both locally and statewide he was a tremendous leader. With many great accomplishments– LTC, Independent living facility, Wellness facility, Dialysis , and development of the specialty clinics. But most of all he was wonderful friend to me.”
-Julie Sproull, Retired BCHC Chief Nursing Officer
“I had the pleasure of working with Bob in the last few years of his career at BCHC. I also worked with Bob on many community committees over the years. Bob was dedicated and passionate about the success of the hospital and the communities of Buchanan County. Bob was a strong community leader.”
-Rob Robinson, BCHC Chairperson, Board of Trustees
“Working with Bob for 21 years was one of the best things that have happened to me in my life. I learned a lot about not only hospitals, but life and friends. He left a lot of good things behind.”
-Connie Brown, Former Trustee
“Bob Richard was a visionary who explained to our Board more than forty years ago what our future health care needs would be; he explained that our needs in the future would be exactly what Steve and the present Board has drawn up and accomplished to benefit the health of our county and surrounding areas.
There was a time in the late sixties and early seventies when our medical staff thought we needed more critical care beds; Bob knew better and in fact eliminated beds and started a few specialty clinics long before they were popular. Bob had to convince the medical community and the residents of Buchanan Co that what he was proposing was prudent. He championed his vision with facts and a great deal of lobbying; he had to fight through a great deal of animosity, but stuck to the facts and prevailed. No one , except Bob’s team and the Board knew that what he proposed and the team accomplished allowed the hospital to prosper when many county communities’ health facilities were failing.
He never craved nor wanted personal credit; he wanted success for the facilities he administered.”
-Dolph Leytze, Former Trustee
“I didn’t know Bob when Lans Flickinger presenting to me the idea of joining the board, but Bob quickly became a trusted business associate and good friend. I never envied the decisions Bob had to make. Some were popular, and some not so much. But one thing was always certain, Bob always acted with everybody’s best interests at heart.
Bob had the unique ability to take pride in success, and accept that when things didn’t go as well as planned, that there were lessons to be learned from those experiences just the same. And he used every experience to help our hospital better serve the community. He was a superb leader and did an exemplary job of guiding our hospital.”
-Benjamin Riensche, Former Trustee