Community and Giving

Riverside Health Remembers Golden Bethune-Hill, a Visionary Leader and Community Beacon

May 02, 2024

With heavy hearts, we reflect on the life and enduring legacy of Golden Bethune-Hill, our esteemed colleague, and cherished friend. Golden, a groundbreaking leader and the first African-American Executive Vice President at Riverside, left an indelible mark on Riverside Health and the community she devotedly served.

Golden's career was characterized by relentless dedication to nursing excellence and health care innovation. Her leadership extended beyond professional achievements, touching the lives of countless individuals through her empathy, mentorship, and unwavering commitment to service. Her mantra, “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” often played to motivate and uplift Riverside team members, epitomizes her unstoppable spirit and lasting legacy. She inspired all of us at Riverside with her ability to see potential in every opportunity and her capacity to transform compassion into action.

Riverside Executive Vice-Chairman and Former CEO of Riverside Health, Bill Downey, reflects on Golden’s profound impact, saying, "Golden was a force of nature at Riverside. Her visionary leadership not only shaped our practices but also elevated our spirit. She had an uncanny ability to bring out the best in everyone, turning challenges into triumphs and fostering a culture of excellence that continues to thrive. To know Golden was to be loved by Golden and to love her."

Golden's contributions were many, from advancing nursing education to enhancing patient communication, always with a focus on equity and accessibility. Her leadership was fueled by a profound understanding of the community's needs, driving initiatives that ensured high-quality care was a standard, not a privilege. She was not only a thought leader in her field but also a cornerstone of community health, establishing and later integrating the Community Free Clinic of Newport News into Riverside, now renamed the Charlie W. and Golden Bethune-Hill Community Health Clinic. This transformation was made possible through their generous gift to the Riverside Foundation, further cementing her legacy in providing critical care to the underserved.

We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all who were fortunate enough to know her. As we mourn her loss, we also celebrate her remarkable life—a life that truly made a difference. Golden's legacy will continue to inspire and guide us at Riverside as we carry forward her vision of compassionate, accessible health care for all.

Her light, like her influence, will never dim. We honor her memory and her transformative impact on our lives and community.