“In the future, when people come to the front desk and want to know where the medical and dental clinics are, we will direct them to the Proctor Center of Medicine and Dentistry.” That announcement was made at a farewell party on November 20 for retiring Matheny CEO Steve Proctor. And it was a fitting tribute to the man who was determined that Matheny inpatients and outpatients from the community would receive their medical and dental care in an appropriate and comfortable setting, something that he accomplished in 2003. To make sure everyone remembers him, The Friends of Matheny announced that the auxiliary group was having a portrait of Proctor painted and that it would hang in the center.
There were lots of other speakers at the event, held in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center. State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman described Proctor as “a great man who has made such a difference in people’s lives.” Then, he introduced his colleague, Assemblywoman Donna M. Simon, who read a proclamation about Proctor signed by her, Bateman and Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli. Also in attendance were Jennifer Velez, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, and Dawn Apgar, deputy commissioner. Addressing Proctor, Velez said he deserved “every bit of praise and accolades you receive. You are truly a champion. Your partnership with the state could not have been stronger.” Added Apgar: “You provided so much leadership. Your input goes far beyond this facility.”
Thanking everyone who attended, Proctor, who has spent almost 16 years at Matheny, said his job was simply “to try to normalize lives for people who years ago would have been shut away somewhere.” The evening concluded with a performance by Matheny music therapists of a medley of songs made popular by Earth, Wind & Fire, one of Proctor’s favorite music groups.