SUNNYSIDE -- Jon Smiley, CEO of Sunnyside Community Hospital, will retire in March.
The 75-year-old has worked for more than 50 years in hospital administration in the state, and as the CEO in Sunnyside since 1992, said hospital spokesman Tom Lathen.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time," Smiley said, adding that he will continue to live in the Yakima Valley with his wife, Mary.
In a newsletter for employees, Smiley said: "I will be expecting all of you to perform at your best in the months and years ahead. I will be leaving the facility, but not our community. Thank you all for your support and dedication throughout the years."
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During Smiley's tenure, the nonprofit, 25-bed hospital has rebuilt its medical-surgical and birthing centers, brought six community clinics under its fold and expanded the emergency department.
Smiley's peers regard him as an experienced adviser in the rapidly changing and challenging industry.
"He has always been somebody that the state looked to for good, sage, wise advice," said John White, CEO of Klickitat Valley Health in Goldendale. "He's been there and done that."
Smiley won the 2005 Joe Hopkins Award, given each year by the Washington State Hospital Association to an individual making great contributions to rural health care. He is the longest-serving hospital CEO in the state.
Smiley cut his teeth at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, now owned by Swedish Hospital of Seattle, and worked his way up to CEO through the decades, Lathen said. He also briefly worked in California before returning to Washington and coming to Sunnyside.
The hospital will begin searching for a replacement right away, said Karen Griffin, a spokeswoman for Health-Tech Management Services, which contracts with the hospital to provide administrative services. Smiley and two other high-ranking Sunnyside administrators work for the Franklin, Tenn.-based firm.
The hiring process could take several months, she said. The hospital board of directors most likely will designate an interim CEO in case the search goes past Smiley's final day of March 1.