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A salute to our family of Founders

JourneyCare could not provide comprehensive and compassionate care to patients and their families each day if it were not for the vision and determination of the Founders of our three legacy organizations: Horizon Hospice & Palliative Care, JourneyCare and Midwest CareCenter, which now serve as our Chicago, Barrington and Glenview sites. Today we honor our Founders, whose pioneering and compassionate spirits are the foundation of JourneyCare. Read on to learn how their forward-thinking launched JourneyCare’s mission to say “yes” to all who need end-of-life and supportive care.


Ada Addington

“A good friend of mine and I read the same article in the New York Times Magazine about Cecily Saunders, the fabulous doctor who started the hospice movement in Europe, and we thought ‘Wow!’ Neither one of us had ever heard of hospice and we thought, ‘Boy, that is a fabulous thing. Why don’t we start one of those?’ Which was a very innocent beginning, because we really had no idea what we were talking about or what we were getting ourselves into.”

Frederica Smith Pederson

“It was all about neighbors helping neighbors at the most difficult part of life. We were all volunteers. Even the nurse was a volunteer. And it has always been our core value as a nonprofit that the patient’s needs as an individual come first. We have never turned away anyone for inability to pay.”

Jackie Holland, RN

“From Day 1, I thought this is one of the most electrifying concepts I have ever heard of and it is still electrifying to me. I can hardly believe the good graces that have propelled this organization to where it is today. And I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Bruce Carlson, MD

“If I could put why I initially got involved with hospice into one sentence, I would say that I thought ‘There has to be a better way.’ Before JourneyCare began, my oncologist colleague and I had a patient who was a single mother with young kids, no support systems and she was dying of breast cancer. We thought that there had to be more out there than her floundering on her own and bouncing in and out of the emergency room. I learned about hospice from my colleague and that’s how I got involved with what would become JourneyCare. Since then the care has grown tremendously in terms of accessibility and breadth of services, and the results that I see now are just so gratifying.”

Martha Mabie

“Horizon was the first hospice in Chicago and that gave us a unique opportunity to learn about hospice as we were building it. It was exciting to be the ground floor for a unique, wonderful service.”

Mike Preodor, MD

“I was a young internist assigned to a Chicago nursing home, and my training did not prepare me for what I would see. At that time nursing homes didn’t want deaths to happen there, so patients were sent back and forth to the hospital. One patient had aspiration pneumonia along with dementia, and she was stuck in a cycle of going back and forth to the hospital for weeks. One day as she was returning, she had a 101 degree fever and they were about to send her right back. So I called her son and suggested – even though we had never done this before – that we keep her comfortable at the nursing home and not send her back. He began crying in relief because she had been suffering for more than five years, telling me death would be a blessing. She died three days later and I thought ‘We really need to think about how we are caring for these patients.’ Soon after, out of the clear blue, Ada Addington called. Her husband, Whitney, had been my attending physician during my residency. She explained they were interested in starting a hospice and asked if I would be the medical director. I said ‘Let’s have lunch’ and the rest is history.”

E. Dennis Murphy, MD

“This hospice, this wonderful, caring, abiding presence in all our days, humbled me in 1978. It continues to do so, even as I express my gratitude to it as a superb caring entity, which is superbly represented by each and every one, a caregiver, directly and indirectly.”

Elizabeth LeTourneau-Lee, RN

“In one of his books, palliative care physician Dr. Ira Byock essentially says ‘There is something worse than having your loved one die: having your loved one die badly.’ Our hospice started really with just a group of people who had personal experiences; people were disappointed with how loved ones were cared for and wanted something better. One day our founders had a discussion and chose to explore what the needs for hospice were in the community. So we held a survey at a grade school on December 2, which turned out to be a day with terrible weather. We expected 50 people to come and about 300 showed up. That’s when we decided to incorporate as a nonprofit hospice. We pushed barriers and those who have followed us have kept it up.”

Roxy Pepper

“I am a founding member of the JourneyCare Foundation and I was inspired toward hospice because we spent a lot of time in England – and of course, that’s where hospice started. It seemed like a wonderful idea. Today JourneyCare has grown and so many more people know about hospice, especially doctors, which is crucial. Hospice remains dear to our family’s hearts, too, and I’m proud that my daughter Lynda Bollman continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.”

Sally Owen-Still

Sally Owen Still

“Putting a brand-new organization together at a time when the hospice movement was just beginning in the United States was an honor. We lobbied in Washington D.C. to keep nonprofit elements in the Medicare bill, like requiring volunteers and bereavement services. This set us apart from for-profit hospices. We also were part of designing state standards and testing them by being one of the first to get licensed. This meant we had to put in place all job descriptions, policies and procedures. Our agency was also unusual in the beginning because we were accepting HIV patients and having volunteers work with them. None of this would have happened without our great board, wonderful Mike Preodor, and Ada Addington’s visionary, positive spirit. She ‘walks her talk’ as they say, and we are all better for it!”

Sam Oliver

“I received a phone call from a friend. Her husband was dying of cancer and his oncologist felt they should look into starting a hospice in the area. Since she couldn’t leave him alone, she asked if I would go to the meeting for her. At the meeting we were shown a video and that was an introduction to hospice. It was very realistic and dealt with tough topics, but you could see hospice was making a difference in people’s end-of-life journey. I was especially pleased with this idea of holistic care: spiritual, emotional and clinical. Up to then, my general experiences was that you go to the hospital with serious illness and they do all they can for you. I felt it was very important that people had more choices at the end of their lives. Hospice offered real possibilities for setting your own goals.”

Joan Flanagan

“I think a lot of us got involved because of Ada Addington. I knew she was exceptionally motivated to make this a reality. She personally had lost people in her family, had experience as a longtime volunteer at Cook County Hospital, and she was just the perfect leader. Every discussion we had was about how we give the needed quality of care, both medical and supportive. I knew she was exceptionally motivated to make this a reality.”

Paul Wise

“For my wife, Fran, and myself, our interest in hospice grew out of our experiences with our first spouses in the 1970s. My first wife died in a hospital after a long struggle with cancer. Fran’s husband was able to die at home, surrounded by support. I could see that the hospital staff had difficulty understanding the dying process and were at times unknowingly insensitive. I will never forget the young nurse’s aide who took the time to come in and sit with my wife and hold her hand. It made all the difference in the world. Because of these experiences, we became interested in helping improve the care of the dying in our community.”


Learn more about how these visionaries brought hospice and palliative care to the Chicago region and northern Illinois in our JourneyCare 2016 Founders & Luminaries video.


– By Elisabeth Mistretta, JourneyCare Content Specialist
Originally published in Together to Care, Fall/Winter 2016