Dr. Harry Orme, M.D., the founding medical director for Miller Children's Hospital, died last month, family members said. A celebration of his life on Feb. 7 is being organized by Miller Children's and Women's Hospital staff.

"His generous spirit and extraordinary accomplishments are lovingly engrained in the mission of Miller Children's and Women's, and will forever benefit children and families in Long Beach and beyond," a message from Rev. Sheryl Faulk, a hospital chaplain, said. "As the first pediatric cardiologist in Long Beach, Dr. Orme identified hospital needs for children, and steadfastly provided an inspiring vision and leadership to help build Miller Children's and Women's."

Orme was born Oct. 2, 1923, in Wheatridge, Colo. He enlisted in the Army in 1942, where he served as an airplane mechanic. He first went to college for engineering, then switched to medicine, where he ultimately became a pediatric cardiologist.

Orme was a practicing physician for more than 68 years. He was directly involved in hospital leadership for more than 20 years.

Beginning in the 1960s, Orme promoted a family-centered care approach for children that transformed pediatric health care nationwide. It was that model that prompted him to help create a children's hospital in Long Beach. He became friends with Earl and Loraine Miller, and helped convince them to donate to the hospital's construction.

Orme's son Steven Orme said that his father was very active in national politics advocating for children's hospitals and family-oriented care. He also taught at UCLA and UCI.

"Harry loved to read and cook during his retirement and always stopped to talk with any and all children till the end of his life," Steven Orme said.

Harry Orme died on Dec. 21, 2018, with his wife Bonnie at his side. They were married for 68 years.

Other survivors are his son Steven and daughter Sarah, grandkids Charisse, Aaren, Rachel, Jeremy and Alex plus his great grandkids Oliver, Tobias and Isabella.

The Celebration of Life Reception set for noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Child Life Patio at Miller Children's and Women's Hospital.

—Harry Saltzgaver

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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