Permanente Oakland Hospital – pride in service

posted on June 30, 2014

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

August 21, 1942.

Edgar and Henry J. Kaiser, 1962

Edgar and Henry J. Kaiser, 1962

Edgar F. Kaiser, Henry J. Kaiser’s eldest son, was busy managing three Kaiser shipyards in the Pacific Northwest in a massive effort to win World War II. Part of that mobilization included providing health care for thousands of Home Front workers, many of whom were in poor health yet expected to function as productive industrial laborers.

Unable to attend the dedication of the first Permanente Foundation hospital in Oakland – the initial facility in the medical complex that would steadfastly serve the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan for more than 72 years – Edgar sent this telegram to his father. It’s a touching testament to the bond between son and father and a pledge to public service that both recognized in the nascent health plan.


Western Union
August 21, 1942 

Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Kaiser Sr.

Henry J. Kaiser Co.

We know that today’s dedication marks the realization of a long cherished dream. The rebuilding of this hospital, the birth of its organization, is stimulated as we boys know by one desire – the service that individual thought and care can give to individuals. This service is the life behind doing the job well. This is one of the many principles you have both taught us all. The dedication today of Permanente Foundation is tangible fulfillment of that principle. While today we cannot be with you and the organization that will make Permanente Foundation live, we are with you in spirit. Sue and the boys here up north join me in sending you our best.


Telegram sent by Edgar Kaiser to Henry J. Kaiser for the dedication of the Oakland Permanente Hospital, August 21, 1942

Telegram sent by Edgar Kaiser to Henry J. Kaiser for the dedication of the Oakland Permanente Hospital, August 21, 1942. Henry J. Kaiser papers, The Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley.



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