R. Clayton McWhorter, who as a veteran health care pioneer, businessman and philanthropist helped put Nashville on the map as a place for health care success, died Saturday night at age 82. (He was also active in politics, once toying with a run for governor — though he never did.)
A giant known in the Nashville health care scene and across the nation in health system circles, Mr. McWhorter was a pivotal figure in establishing Nashville as a center for the health care industry.
He joined HCA in 1970 and served in various roles until leading the company as CEO from 1985 to 1987, the same year he co-founded HealthTrust Inc., where he served as CEO until the merger with Columbia/HCA in 1995.
He had a passion for finding ways to help people, whether it was through the health care system or as a leader and mentor around Nashville. Mr. McWhorter opened his doors at his Belmont University office to Wayne Smith when he arrived in 1997 as president and CEO of Community Health Systems.
…In a statement issued Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker said Mr. McWhorter’s impact on the state’s business, civic and political landscape will be felt for decades.
“I first met Clayton in the ‘90s when I was commissioner of finance, and through his personal perseverance, he worked to ensure Hospital Corporation of America’s headquarters would remain in Nashville. While his professional impact was large, his personal encouragement to so many will be what those who knew him well will miss the most. He was a true friend and mentor to so many people. I will miss him greatly, and my heart and prayers go out to Michelle and his entire family as they celebrate his life,” Corker said.