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MDH Mourns the Loss of Dr. Donald Dexter

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MACOMB, Ill. – Dr. Donald Dexter, one of the original physicians when McDonough District Hospital opened in 1958, recently passed away at his residence in Macomb. He was 92.

Dr. Dexter served as a physician and surgeon upon his arrival in 1958 until retiring from his surgical practice in 1989. Upon retirement, Dr. Dexter remained extremely active in the Macomb community.

He joined the MDH Board of Directors in 1995 and wound up as one of the longest-tenured Board members in the hospital’s history after leaving in 2011. During his time on the Board, he served as Chairman.

“Everything you hear about Dr. Dexter is just stellar. Quite a professional, he just gave a tremendous amount of himself to the hospital and the community. There’s no question he leaves quite a legacy and will be missed,” said MDH President/CEO Brian E. Dietz, FACHE.

The following is a write-up on Dr. Dexter taken from the MDH 50th Anniversary Special Edition of Vital Signs in 2008.

As a physician and surgeon Don Dexter provided health care service to thousands of individuals during his medical career which started as a surgical resident in Cook County during 1957 before he moved to Macomb in 1958 at the time McDonough District Hospital opened.

His service to men, women, children and society has exceeded his role of physician. Dexter has served as coroner, physician for Western Illinois University athletic teams, a recruiter of physicians to Macomb, a professor in Western’s health sciences department, and an individual fully involved in community service in Rotary, his church and as a member of other civic groups and advocate of community causes.

After retiring from his surgical practice in 1989 he was a member of the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) for four years and later served as chief of staff at the WIU Beu Health Center. He serves as co-chair of the MDH Development Council. He has been a member of the MDH Board of Directors since 1995 and is currently chairman of the Board.

Don Dexter is uniquely qualified to share his views on the history of health care in the community as a provider of services, overseer of facilities and active participant in the health care community during the 50-year history of MDH.

He was born April 8, 1928, in Melrose Park, Illinois. He married Esther Ruth Reeve on May 16, 1953. She preceded him in death in April 2012. Dr. Dexter was also preceded in death by his parents, a son, Bryce, and a brother, Ted.

He is survived by his children, Donald (Betty) Dexter of Vero Beach, Florida, Scott (Lori Ackman) Dexter of Macomb, and Margaret Dexter of St. Paul, Minnesota; 10 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

Dodsworth-Piper-Wallen Funeral Home in Macomb is in charge of arrangements. A private funeral mass will be held this Saturday (Dec. 12) at St. George Anglican Church at 11 a.m.

Dr. Donald Dexter obituary

Dr. Rick Iverson (Chairman, MDH Board of Directors)
"I had the privilege of working with Dr. Dexter for almost 30 years. He was a great role model. He was an excellent clinician with outstanding morals and ethics. He inspired those he worked with to aspire to be the best that we could be. He never stopped learning. He was humble and honest enough to admit when he didn't have an answer to a problem we were facing. I miss his friendship and collegiality."

Carol Steward (MDH Board of Directors/40-plus year employee at MDH)
"It was my privilege to work with Dr. Don Dexter a large portion of my professional career. Dr. Dexter was an amazing, dedicated physician who led his medical team with purpose and compassion. He was respected and admired by his peers, staff, and patients. As an Intensive Care nurse, I observed his endless dedication to his patients by always being available if needed. Dr. Dexter shared his knowledge and inspired me to become a better person and nurse."