In Memorium

NorthBay Healthcare mourned the loss of loyal leaders, dedicated volunteers and well-respected employees in 2020.

NorthBay Visionary

B. Gale Wilson

B. Gale Wilson, a leading visionary for NorthBay Healthcare and the city of Fairfield, passed away Sept. 1 at the age of 91.

During his 32-year tenure as Fairfield city manager, B. Gale joined what was then the Intercommunity Memorial Hospital board of directors in 1964. In subsequent years he helped develop the Fairfield hospital as a modern operation; he worked with Vacaville community leaders to see construction of its first hospital in 1987; he helped establish the first neonatal intensive care unit in Solano County; he saw construction of two medical office buildings and improved the financial situation of the organization; he approved the establishment of a hospice program, and completed a corporate reorganization.

He also hired Gary Passama, who went on to serve as president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare for 33 years, until Gary retired in 2017.

B. Gale stepped away from the NorthBay board of directors in 1990, but always kept NorthBay close to his heart.

“He is an enormous part of our history,” noted B. Konard Jones, president and CEO. “He saw the necessity of advancing medicine through an independent, locally controlled health system that would ensure health care for all who needed it, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Gary Passama gave credit to B. Gale for laying the groundwork for NorthBay Healthcare.

“It would not have happened without Gale’s vision,” he said. “He was an enthusiastic advocate for Fairfield, and he was an enthusiastic supporter of building the Vacaville hospital in 1987. Both communities will continue to benefit from his wisdom and his legacy.”

Foundation Loses Two Board Members

Joe Della Zoppa

NorthBay Healthcare Foundation Board of Directors lost two well-respected members in September -- Joe Della Zoppa and Horace “Whit” Whitman.

Joe Della Zoppa died on Sept. 5, after a long battle with cancer. He was 80 and the longest-serving Foundation board member.

Mr. Della Zoppa joined the NorthBay Healthcare Foundation board in May 1991. He dedicated most of his career to companies that served the environment and provided waste disposal and recycling services for the community.

Horace T. “Whit” Whitman

Horace T. “Whit” Whitman, a longtime advocate of public education, joined the Foundation board in January 2019. He died in his home on Sept. 13. He was 79.

Mr. Whitman was an active member of the Vacaville community, serving the Vacaville Unified School District Governing Board, the Vacaville Library Commission, the Solano County Habitat Conservation Planning Steering Committee, and the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce.

“We were lucky to have the leadership, support and generosity of these fine gentlemen who believed in the mission of NorthBay Healthcare,” Konard said. “They will be sorely missed.”

Guild Loses Two Devoted Volunteers

Carol Joan Graham

Long-time Guild volunteer Carol Joan Graham died Aug. 14. She was 86.

Carol and her husband, Walt, a long-time board member of NorthBay Healthcare, were dubbed the “dynamic duo” of Vacaville for their work in the community. Walt, as Vacaville city manager, led Vacaville through the growing pains of the late 1960s until his retirement in 1984. He was integral to the creation of NorthBay VacaValley Hospital.

Carol began volunteering with the NorthBay Guild in 1987 and continued the work after Walt’s death in 2002. She continued to volunteer through 2018, working tirelessly in support of the Guild, accumulating more than 11,000 hours of service and earning the title of “life member.”

Through the years, she served as Guild treasurer and treasurer for the NorthBay Golf and Tennis Classic and was active in many community groups.

Carol Joan Graham

Long-time Guild volunteer Helen Vineyard died on Sept. 21. She was 91.

Helen was a five-time president of the NorthBay Guild at a time when the Guild membership was divided into a VacaValley contingent and a Fairfield contingent. Through the years, Helen logged more than 10,000 hours of volunteer time, working in the gift shop, thrift store and at the hospital.

Retirees Succumb

After a fighting an 18-day battle with COVID-19, Dave Mathews, former senior director of Plant Operations and General Services at NorthBay Healthcare, died on Saturday, July 11.

“Dave will be sorely missed as he was a friend to so many NorthBay family members,” Konard noted. “Dave was a mainstay. His forward-thinking, make-it-happen vision aided in the growth of NorthBay.”

Dave retired in April 2015 after 20 years of service. He joined NorthBay as director of engineering, and over his career, he supervised redesign and remodeling of numerous facilities, including patient rooms, the kitchen, the café, surgery suites and nurses stations as well as a dozen diagnostic imaging room remodels and equipment change-outs. He oversaw construction of Emergency Departments at both hospitals; the addition of eight ICU beds; a cardiovascular operating room and second cardiac catheterization lab; and a major pharmacy and lab upgrade.

He also oversaw central plant and diesel fuel tank upgrades, paving and painting of parking lots and more, and introduced the concept of a parking valet just before he retired.

“Dave will forever have his fingerprints and footprints ingrained in our history,” Konard said.

Steve Henson, who retired in 2015 as IT systems engineer II, died Oct. 25. He had worked for NorthBay for 15 years and was remembered for his willingness to solve both complex and simple problems, and for his signature phrase, “It works on my PC.”

Retiree John Dembosz is remembered as former director of Respiratory Therapy, and later of Purchasing. He forged many long-lasting NorthBay friendships over his 26-year career.