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Fountain honors Monongahela Valley Hospital officer

Fran Frye, Monongahela Valley Hospital president and CEO Louis J. Panza Jr., and MVH Board of Trustees chairman John D. Fry stand near the plaque they unveiled to 150 friends and family dedicating MVH’s fountain to Frye’s late husband, Joseph U. Frye.

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Saturday, June 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

For nearly 45 years, the late Joseph U. Frye helped to guide Monongahela Valley Hospital and its predecessors with his leadership on hospital boards.

In a special event June 19 that drew more than 150 people, Mon Valley Hospital officials dedicated the hospital's fountain in his memory.

Former hospital President and CEO Anthony M. Lombardi worked alongside Frye.

“He had the best interest of the health care system at heart,” Lombardi remembered. “He thought that (the hospital) was a great, great resource for the community.”

Frye of Monongahela served the hospital since 1968, a decade before the current Mon Valley Hospital opened. He was elected chairman of the Mon-Vale Health Resources' Board in 1985 and served until 1991 when he was elected chairman of the hospital's Board of Trustees, the hospital said in a news release.

His term as chairman of the trustees expired in 1996, but he provided insight and guidance to the health system by remaining a member of both boards until his death in 2012.

In his tenure at the hospital, Frye planned and directed construction of the new hospital, which opened in 1978. In 2011, he also helped to lead the hospital's $2.5 million capital campaign, which is helping to fund new, state-of-the-art operating suites and advanced cancer therapies.

In addition to his leadership at the hospital, Frye worked as president of Frye Construction Inc. and Frye Home Center in Monongahela.

Frye “played such a significant role in the dramatic growth, expansion and renovation of this hospital,” President and CEO Louis J. Panza Jr. said in remarks at the dedication.

The fountain's “cascading water will serve as a continual reminder of Joe's devotion to this hospital,” Panza said in a hospital news release.

Frye's widow Fran spoke at the dedication which drew friends and family.

“For me, it was just such a beautiful tribute to Joe. Joe spent 45 years as a director,” she said. “He loved the hospital. ... He just thought that the hospital was so important to the people of the Mon Valley and that's why he contributed so much of his time.”

Mona Rae Williams, a friend, called Frye “very quiet in his ways but very much a leader.”

“He was one of the kindest people I've ever known,” Williams said. “He was very charitable and helped a lot of people without other people knowing it.”

Frye's friend Wes Cramer watched Frye reach out to help others.

“Joe's middle name was ‘generosity' in so many different levels whether it was in his business or the hospital,” said Cramer, a partner at Peacock Keller law firm who served as his business' legal counsel.

The fountain dedication was “certainly earned,” Cramer said.

“Joe was just a very community-minded person. He was always looking to try to see where he could help someone. Obviously the hospital was of a special interest to him,” Cramer said. “He had a very special place in his heart for the hospital and the entire hospital organization.”

Even in his youth, Frye was a helper, his high school Spanish teacher recalled.

“He was always concerned about helping students who were having difficulty with their work. ... He never strived for compliments or the limelight,” said Jeanne Tucker, Frye's teacher at Monongahela High School, now Ringgold High School.

The two became friends through service at the hospital.

She remembers Frye as kind, polite, responsible and humble.

“It's nice,” Tucker said, “to see young people do so much good with their life.”

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or

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