Charles Muse Ewell died on April 16, 2014, at his home in La Jolla, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. He was 77 years old.
Charlie Ewell was born Jan. 12, 1937, in Richmond, Va. He was a 13th generation Virginian who moved to California in 1974. His father, Charles M. Ewell Sr., was a Richmond policeman for 30 years and his mother, Virginia Causey Ewell, worked part-time for Stanley Home Products. He was the first member of his family to finish high school. He earned a B.S. from the College of William & Mary in Richmond (now Virginia Commonwealth University), an M.H.A. in Hospital Administration from the Medical College of Virginia, in Richmond, and a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
He worked in hospital management in the U.S. Panama Canal Zone and in Chicago for five years, then with the Booz, Allen & Hamilton consulting partnership in Chicago for another five. For the next 10 years he was with Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young) in Los Angeles and New York as a partner and the director of that company’s healthcare consulting work in the United States. He also directed the merger that created American Healthcare Systems (now Premier Inc.), a national alliance of 1,500 hospitals based in San Diego, and served as president during its start-up.
In 1986, he founded The Governance Institute, a subscription-based publishing business that provides education and research services to boards of directors, and contributed to the education of over 100,000 board members in over 2,000 of America’s hospitals and medical centers. He continued as chairman after selling the organization in 2000 to a Boston investor group and also continued as chairman of Global Governance Inc., his own privately held strategy and investment business in La Jolla, Calif.
He published more than 50 articles and several books on management and governance strategy, and lectured at the University of Wisconsin, Yale University, Ohio State University and UCLA. While living in Los Angeles, he served on the boards of the City of Hope Medical Center and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Men’s Committee. In San Diego, he served on the boards of the San Diego Symphony and Sharp Memorial Hospital. In the last decade of his life, he served on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and was a member of the Republican Finance Committee during the presidential campaigns which helped defeat Al Gore/Joe Lieberman and John Kerry/John Edwards.
Since selling his primary business interests in 2000, much of his time was spent fly fishing and bird hunting around the world and at his homes in La Jolla, Sun Valley, Idaho, and Punta Mita, Mexico, with his wonderful family and friends, and trying to figure out why golf is so difficult.
Dr. Ewell is survived by his lovely and brilliant wife of 30 years, Dr. Valerie Ewell of La Jolla; two fabulous children, Charles Daniel Ewell (Christine) of Los Angeles, Calif., and Elizabeth Ewell Lindenburg (Matthew) of Seattle, Wash.; a much younger sister, Virginia Ewell Terry of Key West, Fla.; and five far-above-average grandchildren, Katherine, Grace, and Charlie Ewell, and Ben and Mia Lindenburg. He was predeceased by his parents and by a sister, Betty Ewell Barnes.
The family requests that donations be made in memory of Charles Ewell to the Sally Ride Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund at UCSD Moores Cancer Center, 9500 Gilman Dr., #0853, La Jolla, CA 92093-0853.
Always a planner, Dr. Ewell wrote this obituary himself a decade ago and updated it periodically.