Scott Stenberg and I met the first day of Graduate School for Health Administration, University of Washington, Seattle. He was just out of undergrad and I was just out of the Navy. He was 5 years younger and as many smarter. We became fast friends very quickly. Our study group would climb through his ground level apartment window. Someone would bring the Chicken Noodle soup…we took turns bringing lunch. The wine making craze began that year of 1971. His studio apartment always had some brew going just as I had two miles up University Avenue.
Two years later with degrees in hand, we hit the job market. He became an Assistant in Personnel in Sutter Hospital, Sacramento and I migrated to Providence Hospital in Medford. He met Dorothy there. They married; lived well for 15 years; then not. We would visit every time we traveled south which was often. Then, I moved to be CEO of Providence Hospital, Oakland, California where we closer in both distance and friendship.
Our kids loved visiting as they had a swimming pool. Scott had moved upwards in the Sutter Health System to become a Vice President, an internal consultant to the organization and then CEO of Sutter Hospital, Jackson, California. In that last transition, as a new bachelor, he met Cathy Casszaza pictured above. Scott then built a new hospital for his adopted community and married Cathy.
This story is prompted by my listening to Dan Fogelberg, one of the many new musical artists that I met through Scott. He introduced me to new music on a broad scale that started in the 1970’s and continued until he died in 2003 of a brain tumor.
He was a master gardener; he was a master craftsman; he was magical in the kitchen; he was one of my closest friends.
With his diagnosis, he had one reprieve after surgery that extended his life three more years. He made everything of that time fighting the fight and collecting the memories that made him rich in spirit.
He called one day to ask me, the cripple then, to be a Pall Bearer. Three weeks later we shared our tales as we do at these celebrations of life. The tears were there; both ladies in his life were there too; and the smiles were abundant…we all loved him.