Horwitz and MidState

January 08, 2013

Many were sad to read in our Sunday news story (R-J, 1-6) that a former pillar of this community - a man described as a visionary - had died (at age 71) last Wednesday in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, after a brief illness.

We speak here, of course, of Theodore H. Horwitz, who led the merger of two city hospitals and championed the building of Mid-State Medical Center on Lewis Avenue. His name is inexorably linked to Mid-State's success and the future of medical care in the greater Meriden-Wallingford area.

Our news account noted that "Ted" Horwitz began his hospital career in Meriden in 1983 as president and CEO of the struggling Meriden- Wallingford Hospital. He retired as president and CEO of MidState in 1999. He led the merger of World War II Veterans' Memorial Hospital, on the east side, and Meriden-Wallingford Hospital, approved by voters in 1990.

He argued that both hospitals couldn't survive with changing health care economics and that the city would be better served by one combined hospital.

Horwitz was correct.

But, what is visionary? Among descriptive phrases, it's a person of unusually keen foresight, perhaps given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes (as in a visionary enthusiast).

To this, add a healthy measure of tenacity, patience and unswerving dedication, especially when spearheading community projects which upset applecarts of conventional thinking and loyalties in favor of achieving what's right and best, longer term.

Concluding this triptych of personality impressions is willingness to compromise sometimes-grand plans for that which is pragmatic, prudent. A stellar example was his grand plan for a 400-bed hospital at the Saab site which, after much "sturm und drang," wasn't meant to be.

The compromise? A viable, highly respected facility on Lewis Avenue - one which, despite initial misgivings and varying degrees of rancor, has drawn support from all quarters, despite any growing pains along the way.

(A related aside: On December 30, 1999, we published a litany of items-in review headlined "Historical facts from the Millennium 1989." Included among entries: "1991: Meriden - The 177-bed Meriden- Wallingford Hospital and the 92-bed World War II Veterans Memorial Hospital merge into Veterans Memorial Medical Center; 1993: The State Hospital Commission ruled out Saab site for new VMMC hospital.") Returning to our opening theme, being a "pillar" of any municipality implies by its very nature one's ability to shoulder weight while receiving support from city foundations. Despite any remaining controversy over the fate of Meriden's former hospitals, coupled to highest- and-best use of all resources it took to create them, MidState stands squarely on Horwitz's solidly engineered underpinning.

A grateful community extends condolences to Ted's friends and family.

His legacy is enshrined at Mid-State.

Press Contact