By Nathan Duke
Burton Grebin, the longtime president and chief executive officer of Bayside’s St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, died last weekend, a spokeswoman for the hospital said. He was 68.
Grebin, who was born in 1941, joined St. Mary’s in 1975 as its medical director and, in 1991, became its chief executive officer. In a statement, the hospital’s board of directors said Grebin was the longest-serving health care executive in the city following his 36-year leadership at St. Mary’s.
“Dr. Grebin dedicated his life to improving the health and quality of life for children with special needs and their families,” the statement said. “A true champion for the most vulnerable among us, he created programs for kids where none existed.”
The nonprofit hospital, at 29-01 216th St. in Bayside, is one of only several institutions nationwide to provide intensive rehabilitation, specialized care and education for children with special needs and life-limiting conditions. The site treats an estimated 4,000 children each day through its network of inpatient, home care and community programs.
A St. Mary’s spokeswoman said Grebin, who lived in Port Washington, L.I., died Sunday in a hospital, but further details were not released. During his 40-year career, Grebin had worked as a pediatrician, professor and hospital administrator.
“He was a lovely guy and a sweetheart of a man, a tireless advocate on behalf of children and their families,” state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) said. “I will greatly miss him.”
Under Grebin’s leadership, St. Mary’s established the nation’s first Palliative Care program for children as well as the state’s first long-term home health care program for children and the most expansive home care for children with HIV/AIDS.
He also set up the city’s first traumatic brain injury and coma recovery program for children and one of only nine interdisciplinary pediatric feeding disorder programs in the nation.
During his tenure, Grebin transformed the Bayside hospital from a 40-bed nursing home for children into a $100 million health care system.
“He was a well-respected man,” Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said. “He was passionate about St. Mary’s and I have no doubt he always thought about the best interest of the children. He was a good man and will be missed.”
Grebin is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters as well as a nephew.
His family requests donations be made in his honor to St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.
A funeral service was planned for Jan. 27 at Manhattan’s Riverside Memorial Chapel and burial was to take place at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale, L.I.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.