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Mardian J. Blair, Former CEO of AdventHealth, Passes to His Rest

Blair leaves a long legacy of mission and service at the healthcare institution.

Mardian J. Blair, who led AdventHealth (formerly Adventist Health System) from 1984 until 2000, passed away on March 26 at the age of 92 in Apopka, Florida. Blair leaves behind a profound impact on the organization and in faith-based health care, particularly during a time of significant change in the health care industry. 

Blair’s life was marked by an unwavering commitment to the mission of AdventHealth and a deep-rooted faith that guided his leadership journey, according to Terry Shaw, president and chief executive officer of AdventHealth, who remembered Blair’s many contributions and legacy.

In a statement reflecting on Blair’s life and legacy, Shaw said, “Mardian will always hold a special place in our hearts and in our history." 

Shaw remarked. "I have many memories from our time working together and have witnessed the ways he led our organization with conviction and fortitude."

Blair's career at AdventHealth spanned decades and included a variety of roles that showcased his dedication and leadership. He began his journey as a billing clerk at AdventHealth's Hinsdale facility in Chicago, Illinois, demonstrating his willingness to start from the ground up and learn the intricacies of the health care system. This dedication eventually led him to the position of company president and CEO beginning in 1984 until his retirement in 2000, where he steered the organization through challenging times and transformative periods.

One of the notable challenges faced during Blair's tenure was the financial crisis of the 1980s, one of the most difficult periods in AdventHealth's history. Blair's response to this crisis was emblematic of his leadership style — he led the organization with prayer, encouraged personal sacrifice and reinvigorated the commitment to the core values of faith-based health care.

Under Blair's leadership, AdventHealth also experienced a renewed sense of purpose and mission. One significant initiative was the establishment of the Conference on Mission in 1990, a pivotal event that fostered essential dialogue between church, community and AdventHealth leaders. This conference became an annual tradition, which continues to be held to this day, shaping the organization's strategic direction and strengthening its ties to the community it served.

Reflecting on Blair's legacy, Shaw emphasized the profound impact Blair's faith had on his work. “Mardian's life reminds us that our work is more than health care; it's a calling rooted in faith,” Shaw said, encapsulating Blair's enduring influence on AdventHealth's mission and values.

In honor of Blair's memory and contributions, donations in Blair's honor can be made to Union Adventist University, his alma mater, reflecting Blair's commitment to education and nurturing future generations of leaders.