Beloved Employee Marvalene Bickerstaff Retiring After 58 Years
Aug 30, 2017 Cedars-Sinai Staff
After 58 years of dedicated service, Cedars-Sinai's longest-tenured employee, Marvalene Bickerstaff, has decided to retire.
Decades of achievement
In 1959, Marvalene, 80, started her journey at Cedars of Lebanon, which would merge with Mount Sinai to become Cedars-Sinai. During her time here, Marvalene has held a variety of roles—from nurse's aide to ward secretary, where she connected patient calls to clinical staff, to her current position as customer service representative in the Community Relations department, where her smiling face has greeted visitors and answered phone calls for the last 20 years.
"I feel fulfilled because I've solved a lot of people's problems."
She so embodies the best values of Cedars-Sinai with her unwavering commitment to the staff and patients in our community, that in 2001, she was awarded the President's Award, a prestigious honor presented to select Cedars-Sinai staff.
When asked about her favorite part of her 58 years at Cedars-Sinai, she said "the diversity—doctors and patients and staff—I love meeting the different people that walk through these doors."
"I feel fulfilled because I've solved a lot of people's problems," Marvalene told the LA Sentinel. "If you're a patient here, sometimes you just want to be heard. So I let them talk."
Inspiration and insight
Marvalene has touched countless lives during her decades at Cedars-Sinai. Jeanne Flores, executive consultant to the president and a colleague of Marvalene's for 45 years, describes her as "calm, level-headed, always flexible, and accommodating."
Jeanne reminisced on their early days at Cedars of Lebanon: "Those of us who worked in the medical staff office at the time enjoyed one another not only as colleagues but also as friends," she said. "Marvalene and her husband Ernest would welcome us to their lovely home to celebrate holidays and events. We shared many events—and among my favorite pictures of her is one taken at my wedding. Marvalene is a colleague and a friend to those of us who have worked with her."
"I love meeting the different people that walk through these doors."
"What I will miss most about Marvalene is that warmth that has endured, her wisdom, and her grace under pressure," says Nancy Bonner, operations director for Community Relations and Development and 25-year Cedars-Sinai employee. "She is an inspiration to me to always be my best and always find the best in people."
For Marvalene, family has always been her biggest motivation. She's been with her husband Ernest for 62 years, and it was important to them to be able to put their son and 2 daughters through college. In addition to enjoying her work, she says one of the reasons she worked so long was to put her youngest daughter through pharmacy school.
Now that all 3 kids are successfully launched and thriving in their own careers, what does Marvalene have planned for the future?
With retirement is on the horizon, she says she's looking forward to what makes her happiest—spending more time with her family, which now includes 7 grandchildren, and being more involved with St. Andrews Baptist Church, where she's been a member for 50 years.
"What I will miss most about Marvalene is that warmth that has endured, her wisdom, and her grace under pressure."
Thank you for your dedication to our patients and community, Marvalene! Congratulations on your retirement—you'll be missed!