Rick Dreyer was a man worth learning from.
Back in their days with the then-Greater Fall River Chamber of Commerce, Dreyer, chairman of the board, gave Robert Boisselle, chamber president, a valuable piece of advice that would serve Boisselle well.
The president of Charlton Memorial Hospital, Dreyer had a strategy for achieving time efficiency at his hospital board of directors meetings. One week in advance of a meeting, he would send out to board members a president’s report, which included minutes of the previous meeting and the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
“He told me make sure you, as president, give them a report in advance so everyone’s up to speed,” Boisselle said on Wednesday from his home on Bradenton, Fla. “So you don’t waste time answering questions you’ve already answered.”
Boisselle wisely took the advice and that helped keep those scheduled one-hour chamber meetings on schedule. And after Boisselle left the chamber to head a builders association in Rhode Island, he continued issuing his president’s reports, much to the pleasure of association members. “It knocked their socks off,” Boisselle said.
Organization was certainly among the attributes, though certainly not the only one, that Frederic Dreyer is being remembered for. The man who helped merge the Union and Truesdale hospitals into Charlton Memorial Hospital and who was CMH and Charlton Health System president from 1975 to 1995, Dreyer died on Friday, July 8, in Falmouth.
“He was such an amazing guy,” Boisselle said. “Such an important part of the community.”
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“He was a great person,” said Jim Carey, the retired president/CEO of the former Slades Ferry Bank and himself a former chamber chairman of the board. “He was a fun person, a great leader. He had a great sense of humor.”
Dreyer and Boisselle were Rotary members, Dreyer since 1972, Boisselle since 1992. Dreyer was Boisselle’s Rotary sponsor. Dreyer, Boisselle said, took a passionate interest in Rotary’s international polio vaccine mission. Presumably at Dreyer’s urging, the Charlton Foundation Trust’s Earle P. “Chuck” Charlton said that if the local Rotary could raise $25,000 over three years, the foundation would match it. “He did it three times that I know of,” Boisselle said.
In recent years, Dreyer attended only two or three Rotary meetings per year, but it was no secret when he was there. “People would almost form a circle around him,” Boisselle said. “He would work the room. He loved Fall River.”
Both longtime friends with Dreyer, Carey and Boisselle shared interesting tidbits. Carey noted that Dreyer was a drummer in a band in his younger years. Boisselle noted that Dreyer, at his son’s urging, obtained a private pilot’s license much later in life, probably his mid- to late 50s, and would fly in and out of the tiny Myricks airfield in Berkley, where he had a home. (Dreyer and his late wife, Karen, also had homes in Falmouth and Naples, Fla.)
A graduate of Suffolk University and George Washington University (MB in health care administration), Dreyer joined the Union Hospital staff as an administrator in 1965. In 1969, he was named CEO of Union-Truesdale Hospital.
After his retirement from Charlton Memorial, he held the title of President Emeritus and Honorary Trustee of Southcoast Health System for 27 years.
“Rick Dreyer’s contributions to Southcoast Health, Charlton Memorial Hospital, and the communities we serve are too numerous to list,” Dr. Ray Kruger, Southcoast Health president and CEO, said in a released statement. “We feel his loss deeply, yet take comfort that his positive impact will endure.”