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Monongahela Valley Hospital fountain dedicated to Frye

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Chris Buckley
Fran Frye, left, widow of former Monongahela Valley Hosptial board president Joseph U. Frye, Lou Panza, president and CEO of Monongahela Valley Hospital, and Jack Fry, current board of trustee chairman, stand with the plaque unveieled Wednesday, June 20, 2013, dedicating the central plaza fountain to Joseph U. Frye.

Shortly after Monongahela Valley Hospital leaders dedicated the central plaza fountain to Joe Frye, staff nurses gathered for a photo around the plaque that was unveiled denoting the honor.

It was a fitting tribute by the nurses who took care of Frye before he died last year. And even after his passing, the 45-year member of the hospital board, along with his widow, are continuing to take care of the nursing staff at the hospital. At the end of Wednesday's ceremonies, hospital president and CEO Lou Panza noted that the family has established the Joseph Urli Frye Nursing Education Fund. The endowment given by Fran Frye on behalf of the family will be used to fund continuing education for nurses at the hospital.

Panza noted the hospital is marking 35 years on the Carroll Township campus this year.

“It seems only fitting that we honor the man who played such a significant role in the dramatic growth, expansion and renovation of this hospital,” Panza said. “Joe was the chairman of the building and grounds committee that planned for and directed construction of this hospital. Mon Valley Hospital began serving the health and wellness needs of the community here in 1978.”

Frye joined the hospital board in 1968. 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.

Jack Fry, current chairman of the hospital board of trustees, called Frye a strong leader and a role model.

“He showed our members the true value of being a member of the community,” Fry said. “He identified what was needed. He set the bar high, yet he had realistic expectations.”

Fry noted that Frye received the Pallone Award for Dimensions in Board Leadership in 1997, “largely because he was always willing to step forward and do what was needed,” and was the first recipient of the Gibbons Award for Dimensions in Community Service at the Hospital's first gala in 1988.

“It was through his community leadership that Joe taught our board the value of community service — particularly the impact that personal involvement can have on these organizations,” Fry said.

“Over the years, as Jack mentioned, Joe had a gift for recognizing what needed to be done and effectively planning, rallying the right people and finding the resources to get it done,” Panza said. “Any time that we asked Joe for help, he was there.”

In 2011, when the hospital's Strategic Foundation Planning Committee established the Office of Fund Development to support its $25 million construction project, Frye served as a co-chairman of the campaign.

“His unparalleled experience in the business community, keen insight and deep passion for the hospital contributed to the success of the campaign,” Panza said.

Panza said the dedication of the fountain in Frye's memory is an appropriate monument.

“It was Leonardo Da Vinci who said, ‘Water is the driving force in nature,'” Panza said. “Joe was a driving force in this community — and particularly this hospital. The cascading water will continually serve as a reminder of his devotion to this hospital.

“Also, the cast bronze plaque will be a perpetual tribute so that when patients, families and other visitors seek respite by the fountain, they will read the plaque and discover that Joe Frye was a driving force in the creation of this campus.

Panza expressed his gratitude to Fran Frye “for your gift to this hospital.”

I know that there were many nights that you would have liked to have had Joe home having dinner with you when he was here having dinner with us,” Panza said. “Thank you for sharing Joe with us and for keeping his memory alive on the campus of Mon Valley Hospital through our fountain.”

Fry said Joe and Fran Frye believed in education and “Joe had the ability to ignite a quest for knowledge in others.”

Fran Frye said the fountain “serves as a serene respite” for the hospital community.

“Joe always loved Monongahela Valley Hospital and I'm sure he's looking down now and smiling on all of us this evening,” she said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or