Obituary: Terry Hart was a leader in Twin Cities children's care

Terry Hart

Terry Hart's medical career spanned nearly a half century, taking him from the Wayzata Children's Clinic, which he co-founded in 1971, to top management positions at Children's Hospitals and Clinics and the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis.

When the Allina Health System was born from the merger of Medica and HealthSpan in 1994, he chaired the board of directors that steered the new, million-member health care system for five years.

Hart, a pediatrician, died Aug. 30 at the age of 73.

"He was a quality physician all the way," said Dr. Mitchell Einzig, his founding partner at the Wayzata Children's Clinic. "He was conscientious, knowledgeable, and had wonderful communication skills with his patients."

"He had a passion for pediatrics," added his wife, Janet Hustad, of Minnetonka. "People just loved him. It took longer to go to the grocery store because he'd get flocked by parents."

But it was Hart's organizational and leadership skills that were tapped in his later career, said son Michael Hart, of Minneapolis. "He loved managing people, and taking organizations to the next level."

Terril Hart was born in 1939 in Kansas City, one of two sons of Kenneth and Helen Hart, grain traders at the Kansas City stock exchange. He attended medical school at the University of Kansas, served as chief of pediatrics at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, and then moved north for a fellowship at the University of Minnesota.

He and Einzig went on to establish the Wayzata's Children's Clinic, where he worked for nearly 30 years as a pediatrician and manager. It was the first Twin Cities clinic to employ a pediatric nurse practitioner, said Einzig. And it reflected Hart's perpetual concern for quality health care, his family said.

Hart also co-founded the West Suburban Teen Clinic in Excelsior in 1972, offering a free clinic for adolescents. He later served on the board of directors, one of several nonprofit boards he volunteered for.

"When he found a [health care] gap or a need, he wanted to do something about it," said Michael Hart.

In 1997, Hart was hired as Vice President of Medical Affairs at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of the Twin Cities. Five years later, he became CEO of the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, a community health clinic that had been facing organizational challenges. He stayed five years, until forming a consulting business in 2007.

Hart was a proud Eagle Scout, said his wife, and he loved sailing, woodworking and reading.

"There weren't enough hours in the day for him," she said.

Hart is survived by his wife and son, daughter Sarah Hart of Mesa, Ariz., brother Michael Craig in Albuquerque and five grandchildren. Services will be held Tuesday at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina. Memorials can be made to the Melanoma Research Program at the Mayo Clinic.

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511

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