Marsha Fountain, retired president of The Oncology Group, died Jan. 7 after a long struggle with metastatic breast cancer. She was 65.
Marsha’s career began in the early 70s as a pediatric oncology nurse at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She quickly moved into the then “new” field of cancer program administration at a time when the field was learning how to consolidate cancer services across the continuum. Working in health systems in three states, and with colleagues including Gayle Katterhagen, Marsha became a “go to” person for new administrators learning the ropes.
In the late 1990s, after nearly two decades in the trenches, she became vice president of the Stichler Group, an architecture and design firm with expertise in hospital design. While there, she focused clients and planners on the importance of patient-centered space that provided for a comfortable and therapeutic experience.
From the 2000s until her retirement in 2015, she served as a cancer consultant working with cancer centers, networks, and hospitals to develop, evaluate, and operationalize their programs and services. She was a founding partner and later president of The Oncology Group.
Marsha was very generous and committed to sharing her knowledge with others. She was a nationally recognized breast centers expert and served on numerous boards and as a resource to many organizations. She was a founder of the American College of Oncology Administrators and was the first president of Association of Cancer Executives.
As Marsha’s former business partner and friend, I cannot overstate the contributions she made to the field. She was committed to the care and well-being of all those living with cancer and was a true advocate for them. For those of us who had the privilege of working with her, we knew her heart for others, her willingness to go the extra mile, and her loyalty as a friend. She will be sorely missed.
She is survived by her husband, Steve; stepson, Jason; sister, Sandra (Al); brothers-in-law, Larry, Paul (Nancy); nephews, Greg (Nickie), Brad (Jim), Robert, Jacob (Alex) and niece, Hannah; great-nieces and nephews; Aunt Sherry Smith; and numerous beloved cousins and lifelong friends.
Memorial service: 10:00 A.M. Feb. 17, at Marty Leonard Community Chapel, 3131 Sanguinet Street, Fort Worth.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to:
Azle Senior Center
601 Southeast Parkway,
Azle, TX 76020
Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern
PO Box 910888
Dallas TX 75391-0888.
The author is the managing director of The Generations Study Group, a consulting group