Benefis Grieves Loss of Longtime Leader Terry Preite

As Terry Preite thought about the meaning of her career in leadership at Benefis Health System, she didn’t focus on the “view from 30,000 feet,” the new buildings, or the challenge of meeting an ever-increasing list of regulations.

Instead, she thought about the same person for whom she made every decision at Benefis: the individual patient.

“I always said, Let’s get rid of ‘no’ and ‘we can’t,’” she said. “Let’s figure out how to make it work for the patient.”

Terry, 62, led Pre/Post Acute Care, Regional Relations, and Philanthropy at Benefis. She oversaw Hospice, Senior Services, Spectrum Medical, Benefis Foundation, chaplains, volunteers, The Shops at Benefis, and our Papoose Rattler Memorial Native American Welcoming Center.

She passed away on Monday, December 16, 2019 at Benefis Peace Hospice House.

When he thinks about his more than two decades working with Terry, Brad Garpestad, Chief Operating Officer at Benefis Spectrum Medical, feels “spoiled.”

“Her vision was always eight years down the road, yet she had compassion and a personal touch to brighten everyone’s day,” he said. “She knew people’s strengths and put them where they would excel for the System and personally.”

He makes sure every new employee hears Terry’s motto, now part of orientation: “Doing the right thing for the right reason will always equal the right result.”

Terry oversaw hundreds of Benefis employees. She often told her staff to never underestimate the impact of their care on a patient’s well-being.

“Your simple gesture, your kind word can mean everything,” she said. “We impact each other’s lives all the time.”

Working at Benefis was fascinating, with so much to learn – even after nearly 27 years, Terry said in an interview shortly before her passing.

“We all should be doing what we love. It should be our passion,” she said. “It was for me, absolutely. I loved patient care as a social worker. I loved leadership. I loved every bit.”