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Tribute to Dr. John M. Daly, March 16, 2011



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Kathleen Reeves, MD
Daniel Mueller, MD
Thomas Kupp
Solomon Luo, MD
Sandra Gomberg, RN, MSN
Mary Ann Durkin

S. Gomberg,RN, MSN








Sandra L. Gomberg, RN, MSN


There are simply not enough words to adequately sum up my thoughts on John Daly and the times we have shared together. John has often waxed poetically – quoting another’s brilliant words – at spontaneous and unpredictable times... so I am taking a few pages out of his book in my comments.

I believe that people come into our lives for a reason, some to teach a lesson, some to learn lessons with us… some are great listeners, quiet and reserved, while others are loud and make their presence known. Some are in our lives for a moment, a quick burst... while others stay and are woven in and out for an extended period of time. I am so grateful that John has been woven into my life for years now; playing several roles and for the last two years, starring roles. The most important role has been that of friend.


It is hard for me to find someone who can match my energy level, let alone exceed it! But John Daly does. So often, he is my first call in the morning (well before the birds are up) and my last call at night. We have spoken while he was on the beach, in the airport, sleeping in the middle of the night in Egypt, bringing the dog home from the groomer, on a weekend, on a holiday and everywhere and anytime in between. I can’t say that every call was about easy or pleasant topics but I can say he answered every call, giving me his full attention and utmost respect. I have learned from John what it really means to be the CEO of an academic medical center – learning first hand about its overarching stewardship obligation and privilege here at Temple.


John Daly is also passionate about residents, new attendings and senior attendings continuing to have meaningful experiences at Temple. I can’t tell you how many times I have run into residents, attendings and senior faculty members who were touched, honored and grateful that Dr. Daly scrubbed into a case in the OR with them, listened to their idea for a paper, visited their research lab or went with them on rounds in the unit. Meaningful experiences come from organizations that put patients and quality before all else – a reordering of priorities that is far easier to pronounce than to produce in an ever changing and complex health care organization. But John Daly has stood at my side – as a true partner – as we tackled challenge after challenge, always leading to quality with the patient in the center of each and every decision – creating meaningful experiences for all of us.

TUSM has a history of great leaders. Perhaps the most well known is Dr. William N. Parkinson, dean for 30 years. He was devoted to all aspects of the school and was known for making medical education accessible to students from all walks of life. He was revered for his leadership and strategic direction. Since Dr. Parkinson, TUSM hasn’t known a leader of his magnitude... until John Daly. John’s legacy will be his unique ability to quietly teach and lead from behind, to let each of us shine in our own way, And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As top executives of a large academic hospital and medical school, you can imagine we have had our share of glamorous moments. You can probably picture us ushered by a driver to a big board room to think big thoughts over leisurely catered lunches. When in actuality, that’s not what it looks like at all!


I can’t tell you how many times John and I have shared a road trip where we take turns driving, or share a turkey sandwich and half of a banana as we run between meetings in our crazy schedules. You could have spotted us helping a patient with a full leg cast get into their compact car to go home – one of us with the good leg, one with the cast, caught us trying to share an umbrella in pouring rain as we try to run across Broad Street before the light changes, or noticed us rounding in constructions sites with our hard hats on. These are the moments with John that I look back at and laugh... and my heart swells with gratitude for having him as a partner and friend.

We honor John as he closes this chapter of his life and moves onto the next and I leave John with a quote from William James:



I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping though the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride.

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