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her farewell party on Jan. 24, O'Kane was joined by her husband
Peter and her niece, Nicole Toomey, a nurse in Urology.
an institution that moves and grows as fast as Childrens does,
Marjorie OKane has been a model
of constancy. But after delaying her retirement for two years to
heed the call of duty, this 43-year Childrens employee whos
served as executive assistant to the president for over two decades
retired from the hospital at the end of January.
When I came here, she recalls, there was no research
building, there was no Fegan building. And the open parking lot
next to the hospital cost 50 cents per week. Being a part
of Childrens over the years, she says, has been an evolution.
OKane began her career here on a whim. She was waiting for
a job interview at Sears when she spotted the posting for a receptionist
position, and before she had a chance to return to the department
store, she had accepted a job in Personnel (now Human Resources)
as one of that departments two employees. She moved to administrative
services and the office of legal council. In 1981 then-President
and CEO David Weiner asked her to
temporarily fill in as his assistant. Of course, the job proved
anything but temporary.
In her modest manner, OKane characterizes the executive assistant
role she has played as simply helping out the president and
providing a welcoming atmosphere, an explanation that overlooks
the responsibility and tremendous knowledge of the institution she
amassed over the years.
According to James Mandell, MD, president
and CEO, in addition to the direct support OKane provided
for him, she handled the relationship between the administration
and the Board of Trustees, the executive relationship with physicians,
and she coordinated the medical staff executive meetings.
This is not the first time OKane has planned her departure.
Margie was planning to retire in October of 2000, says
Mandell. But when I came on as president and CEO that September,
I asked her to stay on longer because I realized how fundamental
she was to the organization. Im extremely grateful to her
for extending her time here.
With the smooth transition in hospital leadership behind her, however,
OKane says now shes ready to retire for good.
On one hand, she says, retiring doesnt seem at all
real. And I dont think it will seem real until Ive been
home for two weeks. On the other hand, she is looking forward
to spending more time with her husband, a newspaper distributor
and owner of the semi-pro Randolph
Oilers Football Club. People ask what we like to do,
says OKane. I say: just to spend time together. We like
to walk on the beach and take bike rides. We like to spend quiet,
laid-back time on Nantucket and up in Vermont.
I have such respect for her, says Wally
Siedlecki, executive assistant to COO Sandra
Fenwick. Weve been very close friends. Shes
been a tremendous asset to the hospital, and shell be missed
by everyone. Its going to be extremely difficult to say goodbye.CM