Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SR0589
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Full Text of SR0589  103rd General Assembly



SR0589LRB103 35108 LAW 65065 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois Senate are saddened
3to learn of the death of Ruth A. (Cohen) Colby, who was born on
4on February 8, 1954 and passed away on October 15, 2023; and
5    WHEREAS, Ruth Colby served as the president and CEO of
6Silver Cross Hospital since October 1, 2017, previously
7serving as senior vice president and chief strategy officer
8for 12 years; under her leadership, the hospital earned
9national recognition in safety, quality, and experience, and
10it opened Will County's first and only Level 3 neonatal
11intensive care unit (NICU) in 2022, introduced an open-heart
12surgery program in 2019, and championed the Midwest Institute
13for Robotic Surgery at Silver Cross in 2012; she also forged
14partnerships with several leading Chicago health systems,
15including the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for inpatient and
16outpatient rehabilitation services, University of Chicago
17Medicine for cancer services and neurosciences, the Rush
18University Medical Center for lung surgery, the Ann and Robert
19H. Lurie Children's Hospital for pediatric and neonatal
20services, and US HealthVest to build the 110-bed Silver Oaks
21Behavioral Hospital on the Silver Cross Campus, which opened
22in early 2019; and
23    WHEREAS, Throughout her tenure, Ruth Colby worked closely



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1with the board of directors of Silver Cross Hospital to set the
2organization's vision and strategic direction; her exceptional
3business acumen and visionary leadership led to
4transformational growth for Silver Cross Hospital over the
5years, expanding from a 289-bed hospital when the hospital
6opened its New Lenox campus in 2012 to 348 beds today, with
7medical staff members increasing from 350 to more than 1,200;
8she also expanded the hospital's footprint through successful
9ventures in surgery, imaging services, and medical group
10expansions, with the hospital now having more than a dozen
11locations throughout its service area in Will County; and
12    WHEREAS, Ruth Colby's passion for achieving health equity
13and helping the less advantaged in the hospital's service
14area, particularly on the east side of Joliet, led to the
15creation of the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission
16(HCC) in 2008; under her guidance, this community-based
17organization has been focused on creating a stronger,
18healthier future by providing support for education, workforce
19development training, and enrichment activities for youth to
20improve the quality of life for the communities served, and it
21has awarded over $3 million in educational scholarships,
22workforce development, and grants to numerous east-side Joliet
23residents and organizations since its founding; and
24    WHEREAS, Ruth Colby was also very active in healthcare



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1associations and organizations; she served as chair-elect of
2the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) and was
3slated to become chair in 2024; recently, she had also been
4appointed to the American Hospital Association's Regional
5Planning Board for Region 5; she was also a past president of
6the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, an
7American Hospital Association group; and
8    WHEREAS, Ruth Colby was a passionate advocate for the
9community, generously giving her time and talents to numerous
10community boards, including as chair of the Will County Center
11for Economic Development, on the board of the Will County
12Children's Advocacy Center, and as a member of the United Way
13of Will County Pillars Society, the Joliet Rotary Club, and
14the Economic Club of Chicago; and
15    WHEREAS, Ruth Colby was the recipient of numerous
16accolades, including receiving a national award for Individual
17Personal Achievement from the Society for Healthcare Strategy
18and Market Development in 2009, being named a Notable Woman in
19Healthcare and a Notable Woman Executive over age 50 by
20Crain's Chicago Business in 2019, receiving the Athena Award
21from the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry in
222021, and being named the New Lenox Citizen of the Year by the
23New Lenox Chamber of Commerce and a Notable Healthcare
24Executive by Crain's Chicago Business, both in 2023; at the



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1time of her passing, she was to receive the Distinguished
2Citizen Award from the Rainbow Council of the Boy Scouts; and
3    WHEREAS, Ruth Colby was the wife of Donald M. DeFrank; the
4mother of David (Becky Riffkin) Chodak; the sister of Judy
5(Steven) Dolins; the sister-in-law of Sue DeFrank and Joan
6Beeler; and the aunt of Maddie Dolins, First Lieutenant Dr.
7Michael (Meredith) Beeler of the USN, and Gabi Kastel;
8therefore, be it
10ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we mourn the passing of
11Ruth A. (Cohen) Colby and extend our sincere condolences to
12her family, friends, and all who knew and loved her; and be it
14    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
15presented to the family of Ruth Colby as an expression of our
16deepest sympathy.