Longtime Friends Share Passion For Hospice Care
Kay Meyerhoff and Barbara Rasmussen have spent decades volunteering at St. John Hospice in Tulsa.
Kay Meyerhoff and Barbara Rasmussen
“We’ve been through a lot together,” say longtime friends Kay Meyerhoff and Barbara Rasmussen, both in their 80s.
Since they met at a Christmas party in New Orleans in 1959, they’ve seen two moves (to Lafayette and then to Tulsa); the upbringing of three children each; the deaths of their husbands, both geologists; and decades of volunteering for St. John Hospice.
Meyerhoff started volunteering in 1996, two years after her husband died. For about five years after his death, she volunteered directly with hospice patients for two to three hours at a time whenever they needed her, running errands like picking up a vacuum cleaner or staying with the patient if their family had to leave.
Meyerhoff later transitioned to working in the office of the St. John Hospice Bereavement Department and eventually recruited Rasmussen, who had seen hospice in its infancy when she worked as a nurse.
In the Bereavement Department, the pair worked two days a week stuffing welcome packets, writing sympathy cards to the families of deceased patients and sending families information about grief support. After touching many lives, Meyerhoff stopped volunteering in 2017 and Rasmussen retired in May.
Why serve together for so long? They say they knew firsthand the benefit of bereavement services in the wake of loss, and they wanted to use that understanding to comfort others.