KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The soccer field has very little in common from medical software, but people say Neal Patterson had a passion for both.
"To see the promise in Kansas City when a lot of other people didn't showed some forward thinking by Mr. Patterson," said Zach Cobb, organizer with The Cauldron, a Sporting KC supporters group.
Patterson supported soccer from the beginning. A spokesman for Sporting Kansas City said, "he literally saved us."
"You don't know what you don't know. Neal had his fingerprints in a lot of what happens. Employed a lot of people, made a lot of people happy through employment and through things he's done with his organization," Cobb said.
But Patterson also left his mark in other places. That's Patterson doing what thousands of others did in 2014 - the ALS ice bucket challenge. And he was a staunch supporter of the american royal livestock shows.
But what people say differentiated Patterson from everyone else was his vision. In less than 40 years, his vision grew to a fortune 500 to employ 25,000 people worldwide, with more than 12,000 in Kansas City across its five campuses.
Patterson believed technology his company made could enable medical professionals to provide better care... Which meant better health for patients everywhere.
Cerner quoted its interim CEO in a statement today, saying, "this is a profound loss. Neal and I have been partners and collaborators for nearly 40 years, and friends for longer than that. Neal loved waking up every morning at the intersection of health care and it. His entrepreneurial passion changed our industry."
Cerner software is in 25,000 medical facilities in the world, including several here in Kansas City, like Truman Medical Center.
This afternoon, its chief strategy and information officer said, "his passion for connecting healthcare with technology has greatly impacted the way Truman Medical Centers is able to skillfully care for patients. Neal was an outstanding leader and friend. He will be missed."