Joseph Powell, the longtime president and CEO at Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., Memphis, Tenn., died Aug. 2 at 86 after a long illness.
Powell, a native of Etowah, Tenn., spent 14 years, from 1980 to 1994, working as Baptist's president and CEO. It was under his guidance that Baptist transformed from a two-hospital organization to a full-fledged regional health system that currently includes 14 hospitals.
Powell arrived at Baptist in 1954 as an administrative resident, the fifth such resident in the organization's history. He spent 40 years working at Baptist in various capacities.
Powell believed in the power of scale and much of the success from the system's expansion was because of his efforts, said Stephen Reynolds, Baptist's current president and CEO and Powell's successor.
“He had a keen mind—oh my goodness—and a photographic memory,” Reynolds said. “He was very opinionated in delivering healthcare.”
After his retirement from Baptist, he served as a senior consultant for the system and led its foundation.
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