NHPCO and NHF Mourn the Death of Chair Emeritus Zachary Morfogen

For Immediate Release:
May 30, 2014

(Alexandria, Va) – With much sadness the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the National Hospice Foundation share the news of the death of Zachary Paul Morfogen, of Palm Beach who died Tuesday, May 27, 2014. He was 85 and was with family in Pennsylvania at the time of his death.

As founding chairman emeritus of what was the National Hospice Organization and the National Hospice Foundation, Mr. Morfogen was a longtime advocate for hospice and currently served on the Foundation’s Board of Governors.

He became one of the nation’s earliest advocates for hospice care during his tenure as a trustee of Riverside Hospital in New Jersey.  While there, Mr. Morfogen persuaded Riverside Hospital to establish one of the nation’s first free-standing hospices and later convinced Time magazine to do a story about the then growing hospice movement in the U.S.

During the early years of his work with Riverside Hospital, Mr. Morfogen saw firsthand the need for more compassionate care for the dying. At the suggestion of a colleague, he visited Cicely Saunders, founder of St. Christopher’s Hospice in London and widely recognized as the founder of the modern day hospice model. About his visit at St. Christopher’s he shared:

One day there, I saw a hospice patient who had to be in her eighties celebrating her birthday – big party, cake, candles, the whole bit. I said to Cicely, “So, how long does she have left?” Cicely said, “Oh, about a week.” I thought, wow, what a difference between what this was and what I saw at Riverside.

In recognition of his dedication and passion for hospice care, he was awarded the National Hospice Organization’s Founder’s Award in 1987.

He was dedicated to the arts and was actively involved in the creation of the ground-breaking exhibition, “Hospice: A Photographic Inquiry,” that opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in 1996 and then toured the nation.

A love for the power of art to communicate and educate led to the creation of the National Hospice Foundation’s Zachary Morfogen Art of Caring Award which recognizes those who use the arts to increase awareness of hospice care.

Zachary Morfogen in the Art Gallery that bears his name and displays several of his paintings at the National Center for Care at the End of Life.

Mr. Morfogen was a graduate from Brown University and was the recipient of the William Rogers Award from Brown in 2001 for service to humanity. He was U.S. veteran having served in the Army during the Korean War.  

In his distinguished professional career he served as a promotion director of LIFE magazine; European manager of Time/LIFE books; managing director of Time Inc.’s Books and Arts Associates; and director of Time Inc.’s Corporate Cultural Affairs department.

Mr. Morfogen was a painter and author whose books included You Gotta’ Have Art and Dealing with Death Free From Fear which was published only this month.

He is survived by his two children and their spouses, seven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a sister. His beloved wife, Marilyn, died in 2011.

Memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the National Hospice Foundation, 1731 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314 or The Roosevelt Institute, New York, NY.

Mr. Morfogen’s obituary and online condolence book are available online.