Without a doubt, my family and I were blessed for over thirty-plus years because we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Peter Diamond as our family physician. When Pete was a teenager attending Wilbur Lynch High School in the late 1960’s and lettering in three varsity sports, his goal was to go to medical school, become a doctor and return to Amsterdam and open up a general practice. Thousands of us who experienced his unique form of professional care are extremely grateful that he was able to fulfill that challenging career objective.
Most people who entered his examining room were usually nervous or concerned when doing so. Pete realized this and before he’d do anything else, he’d sit down and just talk with you. Simply having that initial conversation with him instantly made you feel better. Coming into that room he probably had ten thousand things on his mind but as soon as he closed that door, he made you feel like you were the only patient he had to see that day, and that’s exactly how he treated you. Time simply did not matter to him. He remained with you until he was sure he had treated or answered every single one of the concerns and questions you had when you arrived for your appointment. As a result, there was not a single time in all these years that I didn’t leave Pete’s office feeling relieved and happy that I went to see him. That’s a remarkable statement to be able to make.
After retiring from his practice, Pete and his dear wife Bridgette moved to Philadelphia a few years ago to be closer to their children and grandchildren. I was so fortunate to have him as our doctor and so honored that he is my friend. Happy Birthday Doc.
Growing up in Amsterdam’s West End during the 1950’s and 60’s, everyone knew Sam Greco from Carmichael Street. I sort of thought of him back then as a young jack-of-all-trades in our neighborhood because he could do everything well. He was a great athlete, a talented musician and an excellent student.
After graduating from Amsterdam High School in 1969, he went to Bryant University in Rhode Island to earn his degree in accounting and early on landed in Kingston, NY where he learned about the health care business working for a very generous CFO at Kingston Hospital. He had found his professional passion. From Kingston, he moved south and became the associate administrator of financial operations at Florida Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale. He especially loved that job because it was there that he met his favorite nurse, Karen Moskal who has been his wife and soul mate for the last 34 years.
In 1989, Sam went to work for a small emerging group that was buying hospitals around the country. It didn’t stay small for long. With Greco serving as the senior vice president of financial operations, Columbia Hospital Corporation grew to $35 billion in revenues and operated over 350 hospitals 150 surgical centers and many other healthcare facilities.
As you might imagine, a job with that much responsibility in a company growing so huge so fast required Sam to relocate on demand. He and Karen moved several times before finally settling in Dallas, Texas. Along the way, the two best things that ever happened in their lives came along, their sons’ Anthony and Jonathan.
After moving to Texas Sam co-founded a new health care network and later became CEO of a public healthcare IT company. He then took a deep breath, contemplated retirement, but instead began consulting with hospitals on topics ranging from financial modeling to supply chain management. Who could blame him? His career experiences make him one of the foremost authorities in health care finance, operations and management in the entire United States.
His younger brother Tony, who has been a close friend of mine forever, his sister Marie and his ageless and radiant Mom Mary, still live in Amsterdam and Sam visits here regularly. Happy birthday Sam Greco, you’ve had an amazing career and made your hometown proud!
Yet another Amsterdam High School Class of 1969 member and another long time friend of mine would have also celebrated a birthday today. Bob Fetterly passed away in January of 2014 after a long and very difficult illness. Nobody loved his community more than Bob loved Amsterdam and fortunately for all of us, he was always willing to do whatever he could to make this a better place to raise our families. To describe just a few examples, he served on the Boards of the Greater Amsterdam School District, Liberty Enterprises, Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, the YMCA and the Amsterdam Waterfront Commission.
Bob just didn’t sit on these Boards, he was one of those people who got fully invested in the mission of each organization. He had the ability to break down and simplify complex issues. He had a keen understanding of program development, finance, construction, state government, social services, history etc. His passion was brainstorming and problem solving. He was a voracious reader and he absolutely loved to sit down and talk to anyone about anything because most of all Bob Fetterly loved people.
The one he loved most on this Earth was his dear wife Darlene. They were married for 41 years and raised four kids who Bob absolutely adored. Toward the end of Bob’s life, it became very difficult for him to physically function. He was confined to a wheelchair and he had to expend great amounts of energy just to speak. In what would be my last conversation with him, he didn’t want to talk about himself. Instead he asked about the progress of an idea for improving our hometown, which we had discussed perhaps a year earlier and he urged me to keep working at it. Even at the very end of his own life, Bob Fetterly was excited about the future of this community. Happy Birthday Bob. You are deeply missed.