Gary Million, the deputy network director for the VA Heartland Network and interim director for the Robert J. Dole Veterans Affairs Medical Center, died Thursday morning at his home in Kansas City, Mo., according to William Patterson, network director for the VA Heartland Network.
He was 59 and had been a part of the VA system for about 28 years, Patterson said.
“I met him years ago, just standing at the back of a conference, and I remember exactly what we talked about and it being so memorable,” Patterson said.
“My wife characterized him as the kindest and gentlest man she ever met. I think all of us would agree on that.”
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He was the second of three interim directors for the Wichita VA medical center during its search for a new full-time director.
The previous director, Tom Sanders, was there for about 10 years and retired in May 2012.
Million was deputy network director of VA hospitals in Kansas, Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, northeast Arkansas and northern Kentucky since July 2011.
He was a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Previously, he had worked as chief operating officer at the VA in Iowa City, Iowa, and had held the same position in Kansas City, Mo., prior to that, Patterson said.
He was originally from Cincinnati.
His last day as interim director in Wichita was going to be Dec. 23.
He was assigned the post for a period of 45 days from his office in Kansas City, Mo., said Diane Henderson, administrative specialist and interim public affairs officer for the medical center.
The next Wichita interim director, Kevin Inkley, who is the associate director for the Kansas City VA hospital, will begin work in Wichita on Jan. 2.
He will remain as interim director about 120 days, or until the position is filled permanently, Henderson said.
Funeral services have not yet been announced, Patterson said.