Thomas F. Frist Sr.

Thomas F. Frist Sr.

HCA founders (left to right) Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Jack Massey, Dr. Thomas Frist Jr.
Born Thomas Fearn Frist
December 15, 1910
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
Died January 4, 1998(1998-01-04) (aged 87)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Nationality American
Education University of Mississippi
Vanderbilt University
Occupation Physician, businessman
Religion Presbyterian
Children Bill Frist
Thomas F. Frist Jr..
Relatives Thomas F. Frist, III (grandson)

Thomas Fearn Frist Sr. (December 15, 1910 – January 4, 1998) was an American physician and businessman.

Early life

Thomas Fearn Frist Sr. was born on December 15, 1910 in Meridian, Mississippi, the son of Jennie (James) Frist and Jacob C. Frist.[1] He received his undergraduate education from the University of Mississippi and his medical degree from Vanderbilt University.[2]


Frist began his career as a cardiologist in the Nashville area. In 1968, with his son, Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr., and Jack C. Massey, who helped Harland Sanders create the Kentucky fried chicken chain, he founded Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the largest private operator of health care facilities in the world, taking the company public in 1969.[3] He is widely regarded as "the father of the modern for-profit hospital system" in the U.S.[2]

Personal life

He was married to Dorothy Cate, and they had three sons and two daughters: Thomas F. Frist Jr. (physician/businessman/philanthropist); Robert A. Frist (physician); Bill Frist (physician/U.S. Senator); Dorothy F. Boensch; and Mary F. Barfield. [2]


He died in Nashville on January 4, 1998.[2]


  1. Sen. Bill Frist Has Many Chattanooga Family Ties, The Chattanoogan, December 21, 2002
  2. 1 2 3 4 Kenneth N. Gilpin, Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., HCA Founder, Dies at 87, The New York Times, January 08, 1998
  3. Maggie Mahar, Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much (Collins, 2006), p. 83.
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