Phyllis A. Blenkhorn rose from teacher and nurse to health care executive and gold-medal filmmaker.
She died Jan. 10 at Seasons of Life Hospice, Parma. She was 86.
"She was a very bright woman who stood on a strong foundation of principles," said Tom LaMotte, retired Fairview Hospital president and chief executive.
Her daughter, Kristine Blenkhorn Rodriguez, said, "She was a tireless visionary, often keeping a notepad by her bed for those 3 a.m. brainstorms."
She was born Phyllis Ann Gunther in Saginaw, Mich. She taught English at a middle school there, earned a bachelor's degree in nursing at Central Michigan University, nursed wounded soldiers in Seattle during World War II and taught nursing back in Saginaw.
In 1962, Blenkhorn moved to Fairview Park and became director of nursing education at Fairview Hospital. She later directed the nursing staff as well. She also earned a master's in education at Case Western Reserve University.
She rose to associate Fairview vice president and executive director of Fairview Enterprises, later Health Cleveland Enterprises, which was a for-profit subsidiary offering home care, health videos and more. She wrote some of the videos and produced many, including a gold-medal winner at the International Film and Television Festival. She also helped start what's now the hospital's wellness center. She retired in 1989.
Blenkhorn was president of the Cleveland Area League for Nursing and vice-chairman of the Greater Cleveland Hospital Association's education committee. She was a charter board member of the national Federation for Accessibility in Nursing Education and Licensure. She belonged to many state and local committees, including one that started a bachelor's of nursing degree at Cleveland State University. She also liked to read and watch birds.
Survivors include her husband, Richard B. Blenkhorn; six daughters; 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Corrigan Craciun handled her arrangements.