Former ProHealth Care CEO, Ford Titus, Dies of COVID

NOW: Former ProHealth Care CEO, Ford Titus, Dies of COVID

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A titan of health care in Wisconsin, Rexford 'Ford' Titus, former CEO of ProHealth Care died from complications of COVID-19 on November 16th at the age of 74.

He was an innovative leader in the Waukesha community. He spent 42 years with Waukesha Memorial Hospital, starting from the bottom and eventually leading a major expansion throughout the region.

Titus served on the board or was chair of numerous foundations and organizations.

Some people though, just knew him as Poppy.

“I think the best memories I have with our Poppy, is whenever we would visit their house in the summer." said granddaughter Jessica Dickson. "He loved boating and he loved listening to Jimmy Buffet out on the boat."

"When he got to Wisconsin, even though he wasn’t born and raised there he just really loved the area of Waukesha and beyond." another granddaughter, Ali Dickson, said. "He wanted to take that and just really emphasize it."

He accomplished many things in healthcare, but his granddaughters say his proudest professional accomplishment was AngelsGrace Hospice in Oconomowoc. 

"He just really wanted to care for people, as we talked about, but especially at your later stages of life." said Ali Dickson. "He wanted to sure that people were feeling welcomed and honored and present. So it was vision to create Angels Grace Hospice. That was erected in the early 2000s, he was so proud of it. And that was actually where he spent his last few days."

Titus passed away at AngelsGrace of COVID. His wife, Bobbe, had it too and survived.

Ali Dickson says in her last coversation with her Poppy, he was hopeful.

"We were on the phone talking about how he was so excited, not necessarily excited…but excited to have COVID so he could not have COVID. So he could see his grandkids again this winter." Ali said.

Titus didn't make it. He did make his mark both on Waukesha and on his family.

“I just want everyone to live a little bit more like Poppy. He loved life, he loved making connections. He loved the opportunity to share kindness and hope with other people." said Ali "When you step outside your home, just please choose kindness.”

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