LAFAYETTE – Calling her a healthcare leader, activist and innovator who leaves a legacy of better healthcare for women and children, Women's & Children's Hospital paid tribute Monday to president and CEO Kathy J. Bobbs who passed away from an apparent heart attack on Saturday, April 21. She was 59.
“Kathy was passionate, inspirational and a very civic-minded individual. Her death is a profound loss to all that knew her and were impacted by the work she did,” said M.L. Lagarde III, President of HCA MidAmerica Division, a division of HCA Healthcare and owner of Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
Significant role in shaping healthcare
“For her nearly 40-year career, most of which has been in healthcare administration, Kathy had a significant role in shaping healthcare as we know it today in Louisiana.
“Having worked alongside her for many of those years as a colleague and a friend, I know firsthand of her steadfast commitment to the health and well-being of not only our patients, but the community as a whole. Likewise, we remain committed to ensuring her spirit of service and compassion continues. Our deepest condolences to Kathy’s family. We will miss her greatly,” Lagarde said.
Louis Perret, Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court and Women’s & Children’s Hospital board of directors chair, praised Bobbs' dedication.
“Kathy was such a giving, caring, hard-working person who dedicated so much of herself to the hospital and the community," Perret said.
Ensuring her legacy of service
“This is such a tremendous loss to families in Acadiana and across Louisiana. And, this is such a great loss to me, personally, having worked so closely with her for so many years.
"At this time, we will mourn as a hospital family along with her husband, children and grandchildren. Together, we will ensure her legacy of service in the community and her legacy of healing at Women’s & Children’s Hospital will live on for years to come,” Perret said.
Bobbs attended the University of Arkansas, where she earned degrees in Nursing and Psychology and a master’s degree in Health Services Administration. Prior to joining Women’s & Children’s, Bobbs worked at various HCA facilities in Arkansas and Louisiana.
Bobbs possessed a fierce passion for the health and wellness of Louisiana families that defined most of her extensive career with HCA, the parent company of Women’s & Children’s Hospital, and Women’s & Children’s, where she served as chief executive officer for the last 18 years.
She served as a delegate for the American Hospital Association, most currently serving on its Regional Policy Board. She was a board member for the Louisiana Hospital Association and served as chairperson in 2013. Kathy also was a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and served since 2008 on the Governor’s Workforce Investment Council representing healthcare for the State of Louisiana.
Among 2006 Top 10 Lafayette women
In 2006, Bobbs was recognized as one of the Top 10 Women in Lafayette. The following year, The Independent selected Kathy as one of its Women Who Mean Business. And in May, the Junior Achievement of Acadiana Business Hall of Fame is set to honor Bobbs as its Business Person of the Year.
A longtime community volunteer, Bobbs most recently served on the boards of One Acadiana, Home Bancorp and the Woman’s Foundation. She previously served as a United Way of Acadiana board member from 2003 to 2011, including a term as chairperson in 2007. And, Bobbs was a 2011 graduate of Leadership Louisiana.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her memory to Kites Above Acadiana Kids Fund through the Community Foundation of Acadiana at CFAcadiana.org/Contribute.
Kites Above Acadiana Kids Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana impacts hospitalized children and their families in a meaningful way through a variety of initiatives such as play, education and housing, an initiative which was close to Kathy’s heart.
Martin & Castille Funeral Home Southside location, 600 E. Farrel Road, Lafayette, LA, is in charge of arrangements.
"It was with shock and deep sadness that we learned of the death of Kathy Bobbs, President and CEO of Women’s & Children’s Hospital," United Way of Acadiana said in a statement. "To say that Kathy was a strong advocate of United Way of Acadiana is an understatement."
"United Way of Acadiana was able to spend time with Kathy and her husband Ken last Tuesday night at a reception honoring Alexis de Tocqueville Society members," the statement said. "She spoke about her family, and how much she was enjoying spending time with her grandchildren. Kathy’s dedication to her loved ones, her community and United Way of Acadiana will long be remembered and her loss deeply felt."
A loss of perspective and leadership
Rob Eddy, UWA Chairman of the Board, said, “A wonderful person and a terrific leader, Kathy was very selfless and caring in the manner in which she supported our community. We will miss her perspective and leadership at UWA and in her other endeavors.”
In a message Sunday to One Acadiana leadership, chairman Don Broussard said, "Kathy was incredibly devoted to One Acadiana, serving on the Executive Committee, the Board, and as the 2019 incoming chair of One Acadiana."
"Kathy was dedicated to her faith as a devout Catholic, passionate, and a kind leader in our community, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, colleague, and friend. Her dedication, intellect, and thoughtfulness will be sorely missed."
"We ask that you keep Kathy and her family in your thoughts and prayers," Broussard said.
“This is a tragic loss for our community,” said Margaret Trahan, president and CEO of United Way of Acadiana, on whose board Bobbs served from 2003 to 2011. “She was a leader in so many ways, not only as one of a small group of female hospital CEOs, but also for her volunteer work and passion for the community.”
Remembered as 'fearless, strong, decisive'
“As a person, she was fearless. She was strong. She was decisive. Mix in with all that was deep compassion and caring for other people, which is what made her such a great leader.
“She was a wonderful mother and grandmother,” Trahan said, “and her children are as accomplished as she is.”