Two-time St. Mary’s administrator dies
Sister Mary Aloys Powell, the only person to run St. Mary’s Hospital on two separate occasions, died Thanksgiving Day at the age of 85 at the Ross Hall Mother House in Leavenworth, Kan.
Powell first became administrator of St. Mary’s in 1961. She left the hospital in 1967 to become an administrator at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., before returning for another term as St. Mary’s administrator in 1973. She remained at the Grand Junction hospital through 1985 before moving to Denver.
Gretchen Gore, mission integration manager at St. Mary’s, said she didn’t know Powell when she was the hospital’s administrator but she met her when Powell returned to St. Mary’s in January 2010 for the dedication of the hospital’s Century Project expansion and renovation. Powell oversaw numerous renovation and construction projects herself as an administrator, according to a 100th anniversary book written about the hospital. Those projects included a two-story addition completed in 1975, a new family practice center that opened in 1978 and the completion of the first phase of Project Critical Care in 1985.
It was during that first project that Powell taught a construction worker a lesson. Gore said an architect on the 1970s addition told her a construction worker drove his pickup truck onto a lawn and tied a chain around a Madonna and Child statue in front of the entrance that had been at the hospital since 1949 and tried to move it.
“She came running out, telling him to give the statue proper respect,” Gore recounted. The statue sits in front of Entrance 6 to the hospital today.
Powell also helped introduce St. Mary’s Air Life helicopter service in 1980, the service that now goes by the name CareFlight.
Gore said no services for Powell are likely to take place, but she anticipates the former administrator will be recognized at Monday’s noon Mass at the hospital.