Crystal L. Haynes


Crystal Lyn Haynes, 61, passed away at home in St. Louis on June 15, 2018, after a prolonged illness with primary peritoneal cancer. She will be remembered for the kind-heartedness and generous spirit she extended to all who knew her. Many in the community and healthcare profession also will honor her memory for the past role she served as a long-standing CEO of her beloved Saint Louis University (SLU) Hospital.

The eldest of three daughters, Crystal was born in San Diego, CA on April 29, 1957, to William and Evalyn (nee Penner) Haynes. The family eventually moved to Texas, where Crystal graduated from Richardson High School. After receiving a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of North Texas in 1979, she began her career in healthcare in the Dallas area as a hospital social worker. It was in this setting that she developed an interest in hospital administration that led to a master's degree in health services administration from The George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC. Crystal held leadership positions at hospitals in Texas, Florida, and two hospitals in DC before moving to St. Louis. Just prior to her move, she was the chief operating officer at GWU Hospital. She became CEO at SLU Hospital in 2001 and served in that role for 10 years. In recent years, Crystal served as a consultant to a diversity of clients interested in healthcare policies and practices.

Crystal's extensive background and success in managing large urban and academic medical centers, such as SLU and GWU, established her as a leader in her field. Her motto was "keep it simple" in working with all hospital staff to determine the most effective ways to serve patients. During her tenure at SLU, she motivated both hospital staff and faculty to remain focused on the special niche SLU served as a major trauma center and to enhance its mission in treating some of the area's most severe patient cases. During this period, Crystal served several organizations and received numerous awards. Named as one of the most influential businesswomen by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2002, she held leadership positions during subsequent years with the St. Louis Metropolitan Hospital Council, Missouri Hospital Association (MHA), and American Hospital Association. She was awarded the prestigious "Visionary Leadership Award" by MHA in 2006, and was named one of the "Top 25 Women in Healthcare" in the nation by Modern Healthcare in 2009. Crystal also proudly received the "Patriot Award" from the U.S. Department of Defense in 2010, the same year she was awarded "Distinguished Alumna of the Year" from her alma mater program at GWU.

In a life full of many different experiences, Crystal faced all challenges straight on with a sense of dignity and grace, even a final challenge that she knew she could not overcome. She treated people with profound respect and integrity, and always looked for the goodness in their hearts. Her life exemplified service to others and the importance and humility of looking outside one's self. Needless to say, she had little tolerance for arrogance, narrow-mindedness, and a lack of empathy for those in need.

Crystal found the greatest joy in the simplicity of life. A perfect day for her was strolling through the Missouri Botanical Garden followed by a good meal and wine with her husband or friends. Her appreciation of the simple but astounding beauty of nature and animals, developed as a young girl in California, was something she shared enthusiastically with others. Aware socially and politically, she also enjoyed the simple act of sharing rich conversation on the issues of the day with her husband and others in her circle. She cared deeply for her family and friends and looked forward to simple outings with them to have fun and to catch up on their lives. Crystal also shared with others her love of travel and how she fully experienced the sights, food, art, and culture of other places. Always warm and gracious, Crystal exuded an elegant but simple style in how she presented herself to the world. She was one of a kind and beautiful in every way. She will be missed by all.

Crystal was preceded in death by her father, William. She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Joel Hamilton; mother Evalyn; sister Kelley Haynes (nephew Sean Smith); and sister Stephanie Haynes (Douglas Horn).

No Services: Crystal donated her body to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine Center for Anatomical Science and Education. In lieu of services, donations in tribute to Crystal can be made in person at the Missouri Botanical Garden or online at By mail, send donations to: Missouri Botanical Garden, Commemorative Giving Program, PO Box 17419; St. Louis, MO 63178-7419.
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch from July 1 to July 31, 2018
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