Remembering Dick Tschider

Longtime CEO of St. Alexius Medical Center, Richard Tschider, died over the weekend. He had been suffering from throat cancer. It would be hard to find a bigger driving force in building the medical community in Bismarck.

Richard Tschider took his first breath at St. Alexius. And as he had predicted to family and friends over the years, he also took his last breath there. In between, Dick Tschider was St. Alexius. "He will be missed because of who he was as a person, not just because of what he did, although those are important things. He was a person who is graced and loved by God and in turn graced and loved people with all his heart," said Annunciation Monastery Prioress Sister Nancy Miller.

Born in 1936, Tschider was a hard worker throughout his life, beginning with a paper route at the age of nine. He attended NDSU on scholarship, got a master`s degree at UND and did a stint in the Army. In between, he got his first job at St. Alexius, working in personnel.

"Dick really was like working with your dad. He was very approachable, very passionate, a great mentor, a great leader and we`ll miss him," said St. Alexius President Gary Miller. He set up the first personnel department in the state of North Dakota at St. Alexius in the early 1960s, and gained a reputation for innovation. He would remain at the hospital for 46 years, 28 of them as CEO. During that time, he knew everybody who worked there from the guy who shoveled the sidewalk to the head of the hospital board.

"A maintenance guy, the housekeeping people, the ER people, from the physician down to the nurse down to the clerk, he was a friend to all. He took that role. In order to do that, you have to be humble," said St. Alexius Emergency Physician Dr. Ben Roller.

During his career, Tschider led the hospital to expand exponentially by working closely with the founding sisters of St. Benedict, for whom he had a deep love and respect. "Our relationship meshed so well together...he upholds the values and our mission and is just a good, warm-hearted man who wants what`s best for the people of North Dakota," Miller said.

Richard Tschider was 74 years old. Tschider retired from St. Alexius in 2005. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sharon, their seven children and 12 grandchildren.

Retha Colclasure