Walter O. Boswell
Walter O. Boswell
Sun City – Redefining the Word “Retirement”
Until the middle of the 20th century, the notion of a “leisure retirement” was almost unknown in the United States. Then, with the establishment of Social Security and Medicare, combined with Americans’ increasing life spans, the concept of a true retirement was born...in Arizona! At the forefront of the retirement revolution was an Arizona businessman named Del E. Webb. He had the dream. James Boswell had the land – some 10,000 acres of it. Together, they drew the blueprints for Sun City, an active retirement community. At its grand opening in 1960, Sun City attracted more than 100,000 visitors and a new era of retirement was born in the United States.
The Birth of a New Community Hospital
As Sun City expanded, the need for a hospital grew as well. Several volunteers and community leaders formed a nonprofit corporation to make the hospital a reality. Members included John Meeker and W.A. Warriner of the Del E. Webb Development Co. (DEVCO); Michael Boss, Home Owners’ Association of Sun City; Luella Leisy, a pioneer resident; and Don Middleton, DEVCO’s legal counsel. The group founded Sun City Community Hospital on Aug. 16, 1966 and filed articles of incorporation two weeks later.
Even before the fundraising campaign officially started, contributions from the community totaled $11,312 by May 1967. Donations came in from residents in big and small ways – including $1,000 from the Sun City Saints Girls Soft Pitch Softball Team, raised at their double-header benefit game. By Dec. 1969, the local fund drive had raised more than $1 million as the population of Sun City marked 12,000 people.
The project’s biggest financial infusion came in the form of a contribution from the James G. Boswell Foundation – a $1.2 million grant with the stipulation that the hospital be named the Walter O. Boswell Memorial Hospital in honor of the late colonel. Boswell was one of three brothers instrumental in developing a vast agricultural empire in this area, including the land occupied by Sun City.
Ground was broken on the Walter O. Boswell Memorial Hospital on Jan. 24, 1969 and the hospital opened on Nov. 16, 1970 with six admissions by the end of the day. More than 5,000 people attended the dedication ceremony – nearly half the city’s population.
Expanding to Meet the Need of a Growing Community
The hospital, now known as Banner Boswell Medical Center, grew as the community grew.
- During the 1980s, the hospital built its third and fourth towers. The campus also added a care center, now known as Banner Boswell Rehabilitation Center, Honoring Norbert and Sonia Grove, and the now world-renowned Banner Sun Health Research Institute.
- Over the next decade, Banner Boswell continued its expansions and renovations, particularly in the Emergency Department and patient care units.
- In 2007, the hospital opened a 32-bed critical care/medical intensive care unit and relocated and expanded its acute rehabilitation units to the Boswell Rehabilitation Center. That same year, Banner Boswell renovated the oncology and orthopedic patient care units.
- In 2008, renovations to the emergency, endoscopy, outpatient IV therapy, clinical laboratory/microbiology, medical imaging and cardiopulmonary departments increased capacity and patient convenience.
- In 2010, Banner Boswell relocated Women’s Diagnostic Services from the hospital to Banner Lakes Imaging Center for added outpatient convenience and added digital mammography to provide enhanced images for more precise diagnostic accuracy. That same year, Banner Boswell was named a nationally certified Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center, the first to be named in the West Valley.
- In 2011, Banner Boswell was named one of the top hospitals in Metro Phoenix by U.S. News & World Report, and was awarded “Get with the Guidelines” Stroke Silver Award from the American Heart Association.
Continuing to Support Banner Boswell’s Mission
Supporting Banner Boswell’s mission of excellent patient care is the Sun Health Foundation, which encourages charitable giving to enhance healthcare delivery. Over the years, the Foundation has united generous community philanthropists with local healthcare needs, fostering a desire to give not only to Banner Boswell, but also to the world-renowned Banner Sun Health Research Institute, Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center and many other ancillary care facilities serving West Valley residents.