GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Jerry Dempsey, a former chairman of the Greenville Health System Board of Trustees and Upstate philanthropist, has died.
According to his obituary, Dempsey passed away Tuesday at age 87.
First Presbyterian Church Greenville said Dempsey grew up in Landrum in a small house with no indoor plumbing or heat, and diligently worked as a newspaper delivery boy before attending Clemson University.
He went on to become a prominent business CEO with Borg-Warner, WMX Technologies and PPG Industries Inc. on his resume.
Dempsey went on to become chairman of the GHS board, now known as Prisma Health, and a prominent donor.
Dempsey and his wife gave a $1 million gift to launch the GHS Rare Tumor Center, which Prisma said was the nation’s first center dedicated exclusively to the treatment and research of rare cancers. The Dempseys are also the namesake of the Harriett and Jerry Dempsey Research Conference, hosted by Prisma Health–Upstate and Clemson University. The hospital says this national conference brings health care providers together with engineering and bioengineering faculty.
Mike Riordan, the co-CEO of Prisma Health, said Dempsey was also instrumental in growth, which included the additions of the Laurens and Oconee hospital systems, and the corporate structural changes which ultimately led to the formation of Prisma Health.
“During Jerry Dempsey’s leadership on the Greenville Health System (GHS) Board of Trustees and as its chair, GHS experienced extraordinary growth in its clinical and academic programs. That included the development of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and landmark partnerships with academic partners,” Riordan said in a statement. “Great leaders have an institutional vision that spans far beyond their tenure with the organization. We often read about how great visionaries stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before them. I think that Jerry was one of the giants who helped shape us and our entire community – and will continue to do so in the future.”