In Memoriam: “Lean Blog Interviews” Podcast Guests Who Have Passed Away

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During our summer hiatus from releasing new podcast episodes, we're looking back at previous episodes of the podcast.

Today, sadly, we're taking a look back at guests from the past 15 years who have since passed away. May their wisdom and legacy live on through these episodes, as we think about them today.

Nate Hurle

Most recently, we lost Nate Hurle from Cleveland Clinic, as I blogged about last week. His streaming memorial service on Sunday was a heartfelt testament to the legacy he's left behind — his family and his work.

Nate was a guest in Episodes 282 (with Dr. Lisa Yerian) and 404 (by himself).


Norm Bodek

Late last year, we lost the legendary Norm Bodek, who passed suddenly. As I've mentioned before, the podcast was Norman's idea. I don't know if I would have ever been inspired to start doing this without his idea — and the way the shared the gift of that idea with me.

This blog post includes a look back at Norman's work and the multiple podcasts he did with me:


Harry Kenworthy

My friend Harry (we met at a Lean conference years ago) passed away in August 2020 after a battle with cancer.

He was my guest two times, talking about his passion and his work of Lean in government. He was here for Episodes 198 and 287 (in the latter, he talked about the book he wrote).

He also did a webinar for us in the KaiNexus continuous improvement series:


Greg Howell

Greg was the founder of the Lean Construction Institute and was my guest for Episode 130 of the podcast.

He passed away in 2020.


Paul H. O'Neill, Sr.

I recently re-published my podcast (Episode 124) with Paul O'Neill, the former CEO of Alcoa, US Treasury Secretary, and patient safety / healthcare improvement advocate.

As I blogged about, he passed away last year but his legacy still lives on through the team at Value Capture, including two eBooks related to his words and actions.

It was an honor to interview Mr. O'Neill and I was really fortunate to have spent a little time with him, during the podcast and a few other encounters.


Ralph Keller

Ralph was my guest for Episode 44 when he was the president of AME – Association for Manufacturing Excellence. Ralph passed away in 2016.


Dr. Michel Tetrault

There were two episodes that I did because people I knew in the Lean community had passed away.

The first was Michel, who passed away suddenly in 2015. I republished some audio from the podcast series I used to do for Catalysis and the Healthcare Value Network, sharing it here as Episode 232.


Sam Selay

Another friend from the Lean community who passed away suddenly was Samuel Selay. He had written a chapter for the book Practicing Lean. I shared the audiobook version, as read by a narrator, in Episode 322.


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Automated Transcript (Not Guaranteed to be Defect Free)

Mark Graban (1s):
Hi, it's Mark Graban here. Welcome to the podcast. Again, we're on a bit of a summer hiatus, but we've been looking back at past episodes re-releasing and remastering some of those older episodes that newer listeners might not have heard Today, admittedly is a ad episode. It's going to be an in memoriam episode, looking at looking back and thinking about, and remembering the guests of the podcast from the past 15 years who have unfortunately passed away since their appearance here most recently and, and very sad.

Mark Graban (43s):
We've lost Nate Hurle who led lean and continuous improvement work at the Cleveland Clinic. He passed away unexpectedly and suddenly this past month at age 47, I'm 47. For a bunch of reasons. The loss of Nate, you know, it has been very, very sad. So I've blogged about blogged about that. I'll put a link in the show notes, but you know, I had had a chance to visit Cleveland Clinic a couple of times it needs some invitations. So we spent a lot of time together in those visits. And with other correspondents, we would cross paths at lean health care conferences from about 2015 on.

Mark Graban (1m 33s):
So they will very much be missed by his, his colleagues, his friends and family. I I'm gonna send my deepest condolences to all of them. Nate was so willing to share and, and you can hear that in the two episodes, he appeared in first off episode 282, he was there with his colleague, Dr. Lisa Yerian. They were on there together talking about the Cleveland Clinic improvement model and the work that they were spearheading. And then very recently in March of this year, Nate was a solo guest in episode 404, talking about work that had been done at Cleveland clinic in various phases of the COVID pandemic.

Mark Graban (2m 18s):
So again, my condolences to Nate's friends and family and loved ones and colleagues, he was very much beloved at Cleveland Clinic. As you can see from the social media comments about the news of his passing. Regular listeners will know that Norm Bodek passed away late last year Recently Released a rerelease. That first episode with Norman, this whole podcast is I've talked about before it was Norman's idea. And he was a guest many, many times and sad that we, you know, we're still missing Norman, but it's, it's great to be able to go back and listen to him and to see him on YouTube.

Mark Graban (3m 12s):
So well, give 'em Another thought and remembrance to Norm some, some other passings that I knew of because I was in regular contact with the guest, had gotten word from their organization… In no particular order. Harry Kenworthy was a guest in two episodes, episode 198, talking about his passion for lean in government, and then episode 287 about the book that he wrote and published called Lean Government Now. Harry unfortunately passed away in August, 2020 after a battle with cancer, Greg Howell, who is my guest in episode 130 of the podcast, talking about lean construction passed away in January, 2020.

Mark Graban (4m 5s):
He was co-founder and managing director of the lean construction Institute and was well-known for his leadership and advocacy in those circles. Another episode that I had reshared recently was looked back at my interview with Paul O'Neill Sr.. He also lost a battle with cancer in early 2020. He was my guest on episode 124, talking about his work as CEO of Alcoa and the patient safety and improvement advocacy work that he did afterwards. Ralph Keller, who is my guest in episode 44, this is going way back.

Mark Graban (4m 47s):
I mean, he was at the time, the president of AME the association for manufacturing excellence. Ralph passed away in 2016. And then there were two episodes of the podcast that I did because they had just passed away. They weren't traditional podcast guests, but I'll, I'll share a little context here. Michel Tetraut, Dr. Tetraut. He was the CEO of St. Boniface hospital in Winnipeg, up in Canada, very well-known for the work they were doing under his leadership with lean and healthcare improvement.

Mark Graban (5m 27s):
He passed away suddenly in 2015. So in, in light of that, I had republished some audio that was originally in the podcast series that I used to do for catalysis and the healthcare value network. I shared that audio here is episode 232 and in 2018, Samuel Selay, a friend of mine from lean and continuous improvement circles passed away in a kayaking accident. I wish I had had him as a guest on the podcast. I regret that we didn't do that as much as we had talked, Sam had written a chapter for the book Practicing Lean that I edited and published.

Mark Graban (6m 18s):
So to, to remember Sam, we shared the audio book version of his chapter as was read by the audio book narrator back in episode 322. So all of these past episodes are in the podcast feed. They're all freely available. They're all on leanblog.org. I will put links to those in the show notes. And I, I think, you know, with these guests, even though they're sadly not with us, their voice, their message, that legacy lives on through these podcast episodes. And I'm happy that that's the case.

Mark Graban (6m 58s):
So thank you for listening. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the families and colleagues, especially of Nate Hurle, who passed away again very recently leaving behind a legacy of not just family, but great work at Cleveland Clinic, the great work they did there and the way their work has inspired others. We'll we'll, we'll, we'll keep at it. We'll keep doing this work. Continue on the legacies of people like Nate and Paul O'Neill and Norm Bodek and, and the others who had been with us here on the podcast. So again, thanks for listening. You can find all past episodes and lean.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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