James Carl Heidenreich

Obituary
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April 30, 1927 - August 29, 2014 James Carl Heidenreich was born on April 30, 1927 to Carl and Nellie Heidenreich in Fremont, Nebraska. He died peacefully on August 29, 2014 of complications from strokes. Jim's father Carl was a traveling clothing salesman and inventor and his mother Nellie was a stay at home mom. Growing up in Nebraska, Jim made many life time friends. Friends who, during their high school years, taught him to smoke and drink beer, two avocations that he carried forward as best he could for his whole life. These friendships continued even while Jim lived in California for the last 54 years and included a well attended Fremont High School 60th Reunion in 2005. At about the time of his 18th birthday, with World War II ongoing, in 1945 Jim chose to leave high school early to join the Navy. He enlisted in the Hospital Corps with the idea of becoming a doctor. He was stationed first at Great Lakes Naval Station near Chicago, then at Farragut, Idaho and finally at Seattle Navel Hospital. During this time, he learned about hospital operations and began to consider hospital administration as a profession. After being in the service, with the opportunity of the GI Bill, Jim became eligible to be the first member of his family to attended college. He enrolled at Oregon University. Jim obtained his bachelor's degree from Oregon University and, rather than attending medical school, chose to seek a Masters in Hospital Administration from Northwestern University in Chicago. While at Northwestern and living in Chicago, he met Doris Monfort who would became his bride in 1952. After receiving his Masters Degree in Hospital Administration from Northwestern, Jim took a one year residency at one of the nation's top public health/hospital administration programs at UC Berkeley. Upon concluding the program in 1954, he took a job as hospital administrator at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. During that job, he started a process that would repeat at many future jobs, expansion and modernization. After Cottage Hospital, he took a three year job at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines Iowa. It was during this time that Jim and Doris began their family. Ann Elizabeth was born in September of 1957 and Paul Edward was born in June of 1959. Next, Jim took a job with Centinela Valley Community Hospital in Inglewood. The family made the move from Iowa to California while Doris was pregnant with Neal Alan who was born at Centinela Hospital in 1960. The family lived in Ladera Heights for 13 years. Family activities were crucial and included Little League, Indian Guides, the growth of the family with the birth of Glen Andrew in October of 1965, school plays and carnivals, church activities, basketball seasons, girl scouts, vacations up and down the state, Laker games at the Forum, trips to museums, kite flying, soccer games, bridge clubs, organ lessons, trips to the beach, afternoons at the park, Sunday barbeques, and fourth of July fireworks with neighbors and friends, always with friends. While living in Ladera and working in Inglewood, Jim was also active in various organizations including the Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce and the First Methodist Church. While working at Centinela, Jim was responsible (1) for overseeing an addition that more than doubled the size of the hospital and (2) for the hospital's entry into the new field of sports medicine. These changes were his pride and joy and included only single occupancy rooms for the comfort and safety of patients. Centinela became the hospital for the medical providers for the Lakers, Kings, jockeys at Hollywood Park and the Dodgers. After 10 years at Centinela, Jim took a job at Orthopedic hospital in Los Angeles. During this time, he became interested in a more global side of hospital administration, working for many non-profits and health care organizations, and he received some of the highest honors his peers could bestow. He was President of various professional organizations beginning with the Hospital Council of Southern California and President of the American College of Western hospitals (for the 13 Western States). He then became a Fellow of the American College of Hospital Administrators, where he was awarded a prestigious lifetime membership. In 1974 the family moved to Palos Verdes where Jim became was actively involved in Saint Peters by the Sea Presbyterian Church. He also donated over 10 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross, he was active with Meals on Wheels and Books on Tape. After 10 years at Orthopedic, Jim took a position with Kaiser. He worked at both the Bellflower and Harbor City campuses. He retired from hospital administration when he turned 65. He took a position for a 'think tank' that contracted with the County of Los Angeles to evaluate and improve the care provided by the County's health care system. After two years, Jim retired for good to spend more time working for the church and local charities. Jim was one of the most decent, honest, respectable, and honorable of men. To the end of his life, his warmth, sensitivity, intelligence, humor and love made him endearing and memorable. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the entire community who take comfort in knowing that he is where he wants to be, with his many friends and family, including his parents, his wife of 25 years Doris, and his sister Jean, who have gone before him to be with his Lord in Heaven. Jim is survived by his children Ann, Paul, Paul's wife Diane, Neal and Glen, and his grandchildren James, Katelyn, Zachary and Erin. Donations will be welcome for Meals on Wheels, , Toberman's House in San Pedro, and the American Red Cross. The Memorial Services will be at St. Peters by the Sea Presbyterian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes, California at 11:30 am on Wednesday September 4, 2014.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 31, 2014
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