News from the Grossmont Healthcare District
Dr. John (“Jack”) Hardebeck, a highly respected community leader and a board of directors member of the Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), has died from complications related to Parkinson's disease. He was 84.
In 2000, when the GHD board had a vacancy, Dr. Hardebeck was the obvious choice. He was an original medical staff member when Grossmont Hospital opened in 1955, and the hospital's chief of staff in 1971 and 1972. Following his appointment to the GHD board to serve the remaining term of the late Richard Bea, Dr. Hardebeck was elected to four-year terms in the November 2002 and 2006 general elections. In 2006's election, Dr. Hardebeck received 61,505 votes, or 41.90 percent of the ballots cast. He served as GHD board president in 2006 and 2007.
“To call Jack Hardebeck a giant in the East County healthcare community would be an understatement,” said Jim Stieringer, GHD's 2008 board president. “His contributions as a family physician, philanthropist and healthcare district board member may never be equaled.”
Dr. Hardebeck resided in East County since 1954, the same year he received his California medical license as a physician and surgeon. From 1955 to 1998, he remained an active member of the hospital's medical staff. He also worked for more than three decades as a family physician at the San Carlos Medical Group until leaving in 1995.
Additional accomplishments in the medical field include: Member and past president of the San Diego Academy of Family Physicians; California Medical Association delegate for 16 years; Grossmont Hospital Foundation board member from 1994 to 2000, and chair of the Foundation's Philanthropy Committee, 1998-1999; and only recipient of the Grossmont Hospital Foundation's Heart of Gold Award (2004) and Volunteer of Distinction (2008).
“We all know Dr. Hardebeck as a loving, humorous and dedicated physician and colleague,” said Michele Tarbet, chief executive officer of Sharp Grossmont Hospital. “He was an icon whose memory will live on for many years to come, and he will be greatly missed.”
When Dr. Hardebeck applied for the vacant seat on the GHD board of directors in 2000, he wrote, “Grossmont Hospital has been an integral part of my life since it opened in 1955. I have demonstrated my interest in Grossmont Hospital and East County medical care throughout the last 46 years in many positions of leadership.”
In recent years, Dr. Hardebeck served as chair of GHD's Finance/Audit and General Obligation Bond committees. His efforts were instrumental in the District's successful passage of Proposition G, a $247 million bond measure that received more than 77 percent of the vote -- well above the two-thirds required -- in the June 2006 election. Bond proceeds are currently financing a number of Grossmont Hospital-related capital infrastructure construction projects. One of the projects is a planned 30,000-square-foot building -- to be located near Grossmont Hospital -- which will feature classrooms, laboratory facilities and support spaces for the future training of students in the health professions. The GHD board recently unanimously voted to name the building the Dr. John W. Hardebeck Health Occupations Training Center.
“We will truly miss Jack's sense of humor and quick wit, his passion for health care, and his tremendous dedication to the community,” said Barry Jantz, CEO of GHD. “His friendship will never be forgotten.”
For more than 50 years, Dr. Hardebeck was a member of the Lions Club. On two different occasions, he served as president of the La Mesa Lions Club, 1970-71 and 1998-1999. He also was a past national commander of the China-Burma-India Veterans Affairs Army Air Corp.
Dr. Hardebeck also was supportive of Grossmont College and its School of Nursing, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. He was the previous owner of the property where the college now stands. Prior to selling the site to the college district, he considered developing the land for a thoroughbred race track.
Dr. Hardebeck was one of a handful of physicians who were members of the Democratic Party, recalled Lionel Van Deerlin, who served as a member of Congress from 1962 to 1980. “Even though he lived in a very conservative district, he was successful at making friends with members of the other political party,” said Van Deerlin.
Dr. Hardebeck died at his Del Cerro home in the afternoon of Saturday, April 26. He was born on May 4, 1923. Patty Hardebeck, a daughter, was planning Dr. Hardebeck’s surprise birthday party for Sunday, May 4, the day when he would have turned 85 years old. As a result of his death, the May 4 event became a celebration of life memorial that was attended by family members and friends. At the event, Patty said, “My father was always very active even until the end. A week before he left us, Dad attended two Grossmont Healthcare District board meetings, a dinner with ex-chiefs of staff from Grossmont Hospital and the Grossmont Hospital Foundation golf tournament.”
Other speakers at the May 4 event included Bob Yarris, who served on the GHD board from 1992 to 2008. Yarris said, “I first met Jack in 1978. Throughout the years, he was my mentor, surrogate father and very good friend.”
Preceding him in death were his son Stephen Hardebeck and his wife Marilynn Hardebeck. Marilynn passed away on Feb. 10, 2008, surrounded by her family. She was 79. Dr. Hardebeck is survived by his daughter Patricia, his son Tom, and grandson Sean Murphy Hardebeck, Stephen’s son. He is also survived by grandchildren Jennifer Paul, Charles Paul, Matthew Haesche and Christopher Haesche.
A private family service was held. The family suggests donations can be made in Dr. Hardebeck's name to the La Mesa Lions Club (www.lamesalionsclub.org), Friends of Cats (www.friendsofcats.org), or to Grossmont Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 158, La Mesa, CA 91944.
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