CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — “Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. McGuff,” said Vicky Gregg, president and CEO of BlueCross. “We share in their loss. Thousands of BlueCross employees, both current and retired, will miss Mr. McGuff’s strong leadership and endearing warmth.”

According to Gregg, McGuff served the company with a personal touch that employees appreciated. McGuff was known to use the MBWA management style—management by walking around—which allowed him to know most employees by name.

“Mr. McGuff was always available to the employees regardless of their position or title,” Gregg said. “When I arrived at BlueCross and as I moved into the role of CEO, Mr. McGuff was always supportive of me.”

McGuff began his career in 1946 a year after the company’s founding. Hired as one of seven original BlueCross employees, McGuff rose through the ranks to eventually become president in 1973, where he served until his retirement in 1994.

During his 21-year tenure as president, McGuff lead the company through many dramatic changes and key milestones, positioning BlueCross as the state’s leader in health care financing.

McGuff fortified the company’s relationship with Tennessee by helping to secure the contract to add coverage for State of Tennessee employees in 1977. He increased efficiency at BlueCross in 1981 by overseeing the company’s first automated claims processing system. By 1982, the company’s annual disbursement for claims payment topped $1 billion, and company products and services had expanded to include a variety of benefit plans, managed care initiatives, and Medicare Part A operations statewide.

Corporate offices and facilities expanded during the next decade to include the 11-acre Golden Gateway complex in Chattanooga and office buildings in Nashville and Knoxville.

“Mr. McGuff and the other BlueCross founders were men of vision and compassion. They started the company with the mission of providing their fellow Tennesseans with pre-paid hospital protection at the lowest possible cost,” said Gregg. “Under his direction, BlueCross rose from a small company covering a few hundred lives to a billion dollar entity with membership now numbering 3 million.”

Besides understanding the importance of financing affordable health care for Tennesseans, McGuff realized the importance of providing community leadership and fostering corporate social responsibility.

McGuff steered the company into supporting a number of charitable organizations, including United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the Adopt-A-School program.

“In addition to being a savvy business leader, Bob was a man of honesty and integrity,” said Tom Kinser, who succeeded McGuff as president and CEO. “He left BlueCross with a legacy of corporate citizenship that continues to benefit the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout Tennessee.”

McGuff was personally invested in community life, serving on the University of Tennessee Director’s Roundtable of Clinical Education Center-Southeast and on the Statewide Health Coordinating Council. He was active in Boy Scouts, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Hospital Association.

McGuff received several honors over the years, including awards from the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Exchange Club of Chattanooga, the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Bar Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Even after retirement, McGuff’s strong work ethic and sense of purpose drove him to report daily to his office at BlueCross where he continued his efforts to help the company and his community.

“Mr. McGuff was a constant at BlueCross—a steady source of strength and inspiration,” said Gregg. “He’ll be missed, but his impact on this company and the state of Tennessee will be felt forever.”

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Monday, July 10, at St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Funeral services will be Tuesday, July 11, at noon at St. St. Augustine Church on Signal Mountain with Father Pete Iorio officiating. Burial will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery with military honors.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Monday, July 10, at St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Arrangements are by the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 404 South Moore Road.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Notre Dame High School or a charity of your wishes. – END –

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at