Kettering Health’s story stands at the intersection of innovative solutions, quality healthcare, resolute faithfulness, and eager hospitality. Our story is shaped by the hundreds of thousands of neighbors who have graced our doorways and the countless team members who give their all to care for their neighbors. And it’s a story that continues with an upright zeal to bring the best in healthcare to the communities of western Ohio.
This story, though, cannot be told without our namesake—the man who started it all.
Born in 1876, Charles F. Kettering spent most of his life tackling tough questions and vigorously pursuing innovation.
Charles was research director of General Motors for 27 years, but he’s most known for spearheading and founding the industrious Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco). Among the more than 300 patents he held for his inventions are the first practical automobile self-starter and the first reliable battery ignition system. There’s not a day that goes by that nearly all of us encounter the direct influence of Charles Kettering’s innovative spirit.
Beyond his contributions to the field of automotive engineering, Charles had a vision to connect the benefits of technology to the life-changing opportunities for treatment in a community hospital setting. His son, Eugene, and Eugene’s wife, Virginia, sought to fulfill that vision by building a hospital as a living memorial to Charles F. Kettering.
The First Hospital
During the polio epidemic in the 1950s, Eugene and Virginia witnessed the difference compassionate, quality healthcare can make in a community at Hinsdale Hospital near Chicago.
Kettering Medical Center, now called Kettering Health Main Campus, was founded as a part of the healthcare mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church, where hospital leaders and staff incorporated Judeo-Christian values at every level of service, most notably, the value of seeing each and every patient as a whole person—mind, body, and spirit—worthy of care.
The Ketterings wanted to give people in the Dayton area access to that same care. They rallied the support of local community and business leaders to raise the money needed to build a new hospital on the 90-acre Kettering estate.
Though not Adventists themselves, the Ketterings enlisted the help of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to build and operate the hospital because of their admiration for the Adventist healthcare philosophy.
Today, Kettering Health maintains its Seventh-day Adventist Church roots across its healthcare system and is affiliated geographically with the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which coordinates the Church’s work and healthcare mission in the Mid-Atlantic United States. Several officers from the Columbia Union Conference sit on the Membership and Board of Kettering Health, similar to the structure of all Seventh-day Adventist healthcare systems across the country, and assist in setting, planning, and managing the mission and vision of Kettering Health as a healthcare system.
Known for his integrity, competence, sound judgment, and leadership skills, George Nelson was named Kettering Hospital’s founding administrator and first president.
The hospital’s groundbreaking took place on July 7, 1961. Two years later, the hospital was dedicated, and on March 3, 1964, Kettering Memorial Hospital admitted its first patients.
The campus, now known as Kettering Health Main Campus, continued to expand its offerings. In 1967, Kettering College opened adjacent to the hospital, offering degrees in health science and related fields.
The values that come from this history continue to guide our employees and volunteers who serve at all of our Kettering Health facilities today. Our story compels us, invigorates us, and unites us to guide each person to their best health.
And as our story continues, Kettering Health will continue to stand at the unique intersection of innovation, healthcare, and hospitality—all while elevating the health and well-being of western Ohio’s excellent, diverse, and growing communities.
“The medical staff was wonderful. They were very caring, very helpful, and concerned about my health and my safety. The PA and the cleaning staff were great. If you have to be in the hospital, I can’t think of a more wonderful place to be in than Kettering Medical Center. I highly recommend them. Everything was wonderful, and the food was great. Thank you to everyone. I wish I could thank everyone individually for all the wonderful things they did for me. Thanks again!”Sarah Pritchett