This past week, the mother of Target Health’s CEO, Founder and Guiding Light, died peacefully in her sleep. She lived a good and full life.  Ms Hays would like to share the following with our readers:  Jules Mitchel


Reine Grace Bobrow, was the youngest of 5 children of Hannah Babinski Bobrow and Shmuel Bobrow, who had fled the Russian pogroms around the turn of the century.

She was the little wren, to my father….a little, highly charged, take charge, little hopping around wren.

The little wren was the favorite of her brother, Herman (15 years older) who was her first mentor, and her strong bridge into American culture.  With the constant support of Herman, the little wren excelled in everything she took on.  However, he couldn’t protect her from the sorry state of (NYC ghetto) medicine in those days.

The experience of having her tonsils out, at the age of 5 or 6, was so traumatic, that I heard this story for the rest of my life.  She had been seated on her mother’s lap.  Someone held her arms.  I suppose her jaws were wedged open with one of those horrible-looking surgical instruments that you see in “history of medicine books.“  And the doctor, cut her tonsils out with no anesthesia and no sedative.  “He hurt me” she always said.  But…..she was a brave and courageous fighter and no one could hold her down for long.

She won a scholarship to Cornell and anything extra was paid for by Herman.  When my mother, from the impoverished slums of NYC got her first glimpse of Cornell, she thought she was in heaven.  When she stood high on green rolling hills and picturesque falls, looking down on lovely Lake Cayuga, she was right to assume that she had arrived in nature’s heaven-on-earth.

In her new campus home, my mother became friendly with an international set of serious students.  And, she found a new mentor, her beloved Lane Cooper, professor and head of the English Department, and referred to in a slim Cornell booklet as, “Professor Sampson’s main opposite at Cornell was Lane Cooper (1875-1959), a formidable scholar who insisted on the highest standards of rigor and learning.“  With this new mentor, mother had a true intellectual love affair that lasted all of her life. 

My mother was a genuine intellectual and a gifted erudite scholar.  In order to read original manuscripts, she learned Greek, Italian and Old English. In her Junior year, she was inducted into the nation’s oldest academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cornell with undergraduate and graduate degrees.

After graduation, she started an advertising business in New York City with a fellow Cornell graduate.  Shortly after, and most important, in Manhattan, she met my father.  It was love at first sight, for them, followed by marriage, and then me. They had three more kids.  When I was 3, my mother taught me to read, which became my life-long habit.  She also taught me to recite poems in Greek and Old English when her Cornell friends came to visit.  After her 4 kids were old enough, Mother began her own real estate company.  This highly successful business kept her active and youthful for most of her life.  She composed poems all her life publishing five books of poetry.

My parents shared their love of poetry, nature, history, and great books of literature.  Their relationship was an ardent one.  They could not live without the other.  I learned from their relationship, that a deep love with shared interests, was possible.  My own children, Vanessa, Alex, and I shared my mother’s curiosity and love of learning.

After my father died in 2000, my mother received an invitation to attend a discussion on Dante at The Medieval Club of New York. When Jules and I heard about this invitation, we encouraged my mother to go. Most attendees were professors and scholars. After one professor presented her views from a small podium and asked for questions, my mother proceeded to challenge the professor, giving well thought out arguments why the professor was not correct. When my mother continued on with her own presentation, she resolved many of the issues brought up by the professor.  My husband and I had finally seen my mother’s “love of learning“ –  brain in action…challenging an expert.  Really, one erudite expert was challenging another.  We were enthralled and the whole room was enthralled.  When the discussions were over and tea and wine were served, my mother was surrounded by admirers.

My mother tried hard to remain interested in her life.  But she really was lost without my father.  Her granddaughter, Vanessa reminded me that, my mother with great poignancy, wanted to believe the red cardinal that came pecking outside her window each day, might be her beloved husband.  Her grandson, Alex continues to share her love of books and her granddaughter, Vanessa has her curiosity about the meaning of life.  My mother continued writing and remained actively involved in her business.  It was during this time that I really became re-acquainted with her.  Jules and I took her out on many Saturdays and Sundays, to concerts, ballet, theater and films.  After all of these matinee events, we would go out for dinner and have the most interesting discussions.

Goodbye old girl….she remains strongly imprinted, existentially in my psyche, my very being.  For me, she has not gone.

She Was In Love With Spring



261 Madison Avenue
24th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 681-2100; Fax (212) 681-2105
Ms Joyce Hays, CEO
Dr. Jules T. Mitchel, President

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