We are sad to announce the passing of Robert E. Edmondson, who served as CEO of the organization from May 2005 to March 2016, and died unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 20th.

Edmondson was a pioneer and advocate for the care and wellbeing of seniors. His career spanned an impressive 40 years, including leadership roles in both the government and private sector, non-profit and for-profit HMOs in Northern California, and national and international health organizations. He is lovingly remembered as a leader and mentor to the team at On Lok, an organization of which he served as CEO for more than a decade.

Edmondson’s leadership was instrumental to the long term sustainability of On Lok, and the PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program that On Lok invented, which included growth and expansion into the South and East Bay Area counties. He also pushed forward new programs and services to extend On Lok’s work beyond the PACE population.

“Working closely with Bob to deepen On Lok’s reach and impact gave me the chance to build on his legacy as he prepared me for an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Grace Li, current CEO of On Lok. “His contributions to On Lok and the communities we serve will always be remembered.”

As one of only four executive directors during On Lok’s 50-year history, Edmondson brought On Lok’s programs and services closer together to better support Bay Area seniors. His legacy will be remembered by the thousands of lives he touched and enriched while working with the organization.

Edmondson believed deeply in the importance of the PACE model of care for seniors in the Bay Area and across the country. Under his leadership, On Lok’s PACE program grew by 50%, expanding to include Alameda and Santa Clara County with the addition of three new locations.  He relaunched On Lok consulting under the name of On Lok PACEpartners, which promoted the development of PACE in rural and urban communities in California and further proliferated the PACE concept nationally and around the world.

He was the driving force in the formation of, and was the first Board Chair for, CalPACE, the first PACE State Association in the country.  

During his tenure with On Lok, Edmondson strengthened On Lok’s infrastructure to better care for participants and support low-income seniors with their housing needs. He was an advocate of no seniors left behind and contributed to numerous organizations advancing the PACE model of care, housing, and services for older adults, including National PACE Association (Ex Officio Member), LeadingAge California, Eskaton, John Muir Health System, Covia, and WelbeHealth. Under his leadership at On Lok, he launched the Bay Area Senior Health Policy Forum, in partnership with the Center for Elders’ Independence, to bring together advocates, policymakers and stakeholders to find creative ideas to strengthen the safety-net for Bay Area senior services. Edmondson was also a founding board member of the California Association of Health Plans (CAHP, originally CAHMO).

Edmondson grew up in Chicago and St. Louis and attended Stanford University, receiving both his undergraduate and J.D. from the university. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and their three sons.