Fifty-one year-old Hugh Rechner attended the Beasley School of Law to pursue his J.D. after serving in the United States Army for 20 years.
“Never give up on a dream no matter how old you are,” Rechner said. “It was great to become a lawyer. You can and will achieve it.”
Rechner, a 1997 law alumnus, is now shifting his professional focus toward the medical field. He became the chair of the board of trustees for Wayne Memorial Hospital and Health System, a non-profit hospital in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 5, 2019. In this position, he will oversee the hospital administration to help expand its community resources.
“I enjoy working here because it gives back to the community and it isn’t paid,” Rechner said.
Rechner was born in Yugoslavia and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1949. They settled on a farm outside of Honesdale, where him and his wife currently reside.
“For years, my mother stayed at the hospital and then my daughter became a part of the long-term care board,” Hugh Rechner said. “The hospital has been a part of the family for years.”
He was a board member of the Long-Term Care Board for 15 years and served as the first vice chair of the board of trustees for five years prior to accepting the new role.
Hugh Rechner retired from the army on June 30, 1981 and got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.
He became the vice president in 1982 and trust officer in 1983 for the Honesdale National Bank before retiring again in September 1990. He, however, wanted to achieve his goal of becoming a lawyer, which led him to Temple.
“I absolutely loved Temple,” Hugh Rechner said. “I spent every waking moment at law school, Temple’s library and studying, the dialogue between professors and students was a fundamental part of law school.”
He founded the Rechner Law Office in January 2000 and partnered with his daughter, Chris, in April 2003, before he retired in September 2018 because of constant traveling for court dates and client requirements.
“It almost felt like a death when he stopped coming in the office,” she said. “We were always joking and laughing about things that only we understood.”
Chris Rechner, chair of the Long-Term Care Board at the hospital, said that her father was hesitant to accept the position because of the time commitment it entails and the pressure of making executive decisions.
“I was pleased and happy when he accepted it,” Chris Rechner said. “I’m following in his footsteps.”
Dirk Mumford, the previous board of trustees chair, is confident about Rechner taking on the role because they have previously collaborated on making a lot of board decisions to make the handover seamless.
“I have no qualms whatsoever about him taking over,” said Mumford. “He’s intelligent and he will be a very definite asset.”
Rechner’s goal in the new position is to ensure that the Honesdale community gets the best healthcare.
“He certainly has a very definite interest in the hospital, particularly as it affects the community,” Mumford said. “He’s very much strong in making sure that the community has good medical service.”
Mumford said that Rechner would face challenges in his new role, especially on how to increase the hospital’s services.
“Small hospitals are being absorbed or they wind up being sort of a stepchild to the larger organizations at the expense of the community,” Mumford said. “The big thing for Hugh is to be able to maintain and increase services so that patients don’t have to travel so far.”
Rechner advised Temple students who have multiple interests like him to be persistent.
“You just do it,” Rechner said. “One day at a time, one class at a time,” he always told his daughter while she was in law school.
He said taking one day at a time is how he maneuvered serving twenty years in the army, then became a banker and then entered law school.
“He’s always a whirlwind and has something new going on all the time,” Chris Rechner said.