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Kettering History

2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the Charles F. Kettering Memorial Hospital. Like its namesake, the hospital has a tradition of bringing innovation and cutting-edge technology to the region to improve the lives of people in our community.

Born in 1876, Charles Kettering spent most of his life tackling tough questions and vigorously pursuing innovation. He was director of research at General Motors for 27 years and founded Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company, known as Delco. He held more than 300 patents for inventions, including the first practical automobile self-starter and the first reliable battery ignition system.

Charles vision was to utilize innovative technology in caring for patients 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 him.

During the polio epidemic in the 1950s, Eugene and Virginia had witnessed firsthand the compassionate, quality health care at Hinsdale Hospital near Chicago. The hospital was founded as part of the healthcare mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Hospital leaders and staff incorporated Christian values at every level of service.

Over 50 Years of Exceptional Healthcare

The Ketterings wanted people in the Dayton area to experience the same extraordinary care. They rallied the support of local community and business leaders to raise the money to build the new hospital on the 90-acre Kettering estate. Though the Ketterings were not Adventists, they asked the Seventh-day Adventists to build and operate the hospital because of their admiration for the Adventist healthcare philosophy.

George Nelson was named Kettering Hospital's founding administrator and first president. Known for his integrity, competence, sound judgment, and ability to lead, George worked closely with the Ketterings to build the hospital and establish its unique culture.

The groundbreaking took place on July 7, 1961. Two years later, the hospital was officially dedicated. On March 3, 1964, the hospital admitted its first patients.

The campus, now known as Kettering Medical Center, grew in size and the variety of services offered. In 1967, Kettering College opened adjacent to the hospital, offering degrees in health science fields.

The same values that guided the Kettering family and the founding hospital leaders continue today in the employees and volunteers who serve at Kettering Medical Center and throughout Kettering Health Network.