New JCMC chapel dedicated to the late Don Jeanes


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Friends and co-workers with Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) paid tribute to the late Don Jeanes by dedicating the new chapel at Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) in his memory.

Jeanes, former president of Milligan College, was a longtime MSHA board member and volunteer chaplain. He passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 27.

At the time of his death, Jeanes had just stepped into his role, for the second time, as chairman of the MSHA board of directors. He was also scheduled to receive his 20-year service pin as an MSHA volunteer chaplain.

JCMC CEO David Nicely presented Jeanes’ widow, Clarinda, with a plaque that will be placed in the chapel. It reads: “This chapel is dedicated in memory of Rev. Donald R. Jeanes for his faithful service to the Mountain States Health Alliance board and his compassion and care for 20 years of service as a volunteer chaplain.”

“Don was a tremendous leader in our community and a treasured friend,” said Dennis Vonderfecht, MSHA’s president and CEO. “His business leadership has been a great asset to MSHA, but his passion has always been for spiritual leadership. The countless hours he spent as a volunteer chaplain bringing comfort to patients and families here at JCMC have made a lasting impact on so many people. Dedicating this chapel seemed like the perfect way to honor his legacy.”

Jeanes was an ordained minister who had served at both First Christian Church in Johnson City and at Spring Branch Christian Church in Houston, Texas. He was Milligan College president from 1997-2011. Jeanes was honored in 2011 with the MSHA Spirit Award for his leadership, high moral values and unselfish service to the community.

He was one of the founders of the MSHA volunteer chaplain program and continued to serve as a chaplain at JCMC over the years.

MSHA leaders, chaplains, members of the MSHA board of directors and the Jeanes family were among the small group attending the ceremony in the chapel located on the second floor. They paid tribute to his many good works, his steady leadership and the calming influence he had in difficult situations.

Clarinda Jeanes took the opportunity to say how vital the chaplains are to MSHA’s hospitals.

“Chaplains, you don’t know what a difference you make; you don’t realize how important the chaplaincy program is here to the patients. So I really appreciate this. I think it’s a lovely place, and I hope people will enjoy coming in here and finding a little bit of relief.”

Clarinda Jeanes was joined by her daughter, Amy Folck, and two grandsons, Eli and Hayden, for the ribbon-cutting. The old chapel was located on the first floor in the JCMC lobby, but when the lobby underwent renovation, the new chapel was constructed on the second floor. It is next to the Spiritual and Pastoral Care office near the public elevators.

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