Dr. M. Eileen Schmitt, former St. Francis Hospital CEO and advocate for poor, dies at 71

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Dr. M. Eileen Schmitt, who spent more than 30 years practicing family medicine in Wilmington, died June 21 following a brief illness. She was 71.

Much of Schmitt’s career was spent at St. Francis Hospital in a number of capacities. She served as an administrator, first as vice president of medical affairs, then as chief executive officer. In 2001 she became the director of the St. Clare Outreach Van, providing full health care services to the homeless until 2007. She later returned to Family Medicine at Greenhill, the practice she cofounded in 1983, and retired this past December.

Dr. Eileen Schmitt
Dr. Eileen Schmitt

Her work with the poor was not limited to St. Francis. She served on the boards of directors for the Ministry of Caring, Sacred Heart Village and the Mother Teresa House. She was also on the boards of the St. Francis Hospital Foundation and the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, as well as the board of directors of Archmere Academy. She was a founding member of the review board of the Diocese of Wilmington.

Nationally, Schmitt was a member of the Hope Ministries board, which was responsible for the sponsorship of eight hospitals and one nursing home in the Catholic East Healthcare System.

A native of Philadelphia, Schmitt joined the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart following her graduation from Little Flower Catholic High School. While with the congregation, she taught in schools in Jackson Heights, N.Y., Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Schmitt received honorary degrees from Neumann University and D’Youville College, her alma mater, in Buffalo, N.Y. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington honored her with the Msgr. Thomas Reese Award, and she received the Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal from Pope John Paul II.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, June 26, at St. Joseph’s Church in Wilmington. Burial will be private. Donations in her name can be made to the Ministry of Caring, 506 N. Church St., Wilmington, DE 19801, or the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, 1750 Quarry Road, Yardley, PA 19067.