PERU — A member of the Illinois Valley Community Hospital Board who estimates he has been to at least 1,600 IVCH meetings of one kind or another since attending his first board session in 1968 attended his last meeting in October.
No one can say Harry Erlenborn, 97, didn’t take the concept of community service seriously. He joined the board when IVCH was still known as People’s Hospital and served on it for 45 years. He played a key role in the negotiations that led to the merger between People’s and St. Mary’s Hospital of LaSalle in 1975, the event that formed IVCH.
Erlenborn also helped establish the IVCH Foundation in the late 1980s and served as its first and only president until stepping down from that role in September of this year. Reminiscing about his connections to IVCH when he spoke to the hospital board for the last time, Erlenborn noted:
He was chairman of the board’s Finance Committee from 1968 until 2012;
The late Dr. Robert Duncan came up with the name “Illinois Valley Community Hospital” for the new hospital formed after the People’s/St. Mary’s merger;
IVCH building projects undertaken while Erlenborn was on the board included the 1979 addition, the West Street office building and the sky bridge connecting it to IVCH, the Women’s Health Care Center, the 2003 East Addition, and the new obstetrics unit added two years ago.
“Harry’s experience, wisdom and advice have been invaluable to IVCH through the years,” said Tommy Hobbs, IVCH chief executive officer. “He has been an outstanding member of our board of directors.”