Aspirus Ontonagon’s Gale Kocher: 36 years of putting patients first

Throughout her 36 years as an imaging technologist at Aspirus Ontonagon (formerly Ontonagon Memorial Hospital), Gale Kocher has built a reputation for being relatable and approachable.


“Passion for excellence and compassion for people is a way of life for Gale,” said Rae Kaare, chief administrative officer at Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital. “Patients often talk with her like they’ve been friends for years, and many have been. Gale’s approach and her ability to bond with patients is remarkable.”


Kocher, who is retiring March 28, began her career as an imaging technologist in 1982 and completed her mammography boards in 2002. Over the decades, she’s made a significant impact on the team she works with every day – serving as a leader and managing the imaging department as well as mentoring and training several team members, including current staff members. The number of procedures she’s performed during her tenure ranks in the thousands

“It has been a joy and an honor knowing and working with Gale,” said Bill Miles, X-ray technician. “We’ve been through the best and worst of times together and shared many laughs and tears. All the changes in radiology over the years from darkrooms and film to digital; it used to take a couple days to get results and they had to travel by courier, now we get same-day results. It’s been a great ride with her!”


“A lot has changed in 36 years,” Kocher said. “Technology has changed and grown, but the way we care for our patients has remained the same. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the past three decades. I will miss the people the most.”


According to CAO Rae Kaare, the hospital is fortunate for having Kocher’s dedication and leadership. Kaare said Kocher has helped ensure the imaging team is set up for continued success in providing high-quality services as well as in caring for patients in the Ontonagon community.


“We will continue to focus on making sure people have the best care right here,” Kaare said. “Gale has engaged the team to keep the vision of providing the best care for everyone who needs us.”


While Kocher will complete her last shift on March 28, her imaging team members – including lead technologist Claire Grzenia, Bill Miles, Alan Ashley, Amanda Caudill and Olivia Harris – are committed to continuing her legacy of providing compassionate, personal and patient-focused care.


Aspirus Ontonagon’s imaging team has exceptional radiology experience and holds national licensures that include X-ray, CT, Ultrasound and Mammography.