Gladys Singhas and her brother, Merle LaRue

By Maria Lorensen, Development Director


That’s what Diane Stewart feels in response to the care her late mother, Gladys Singhas, received at Hospice of the Panhandle’s Inpatient Facility last summer.

Singhas, 92, was admitted to Jefferson Memorial Hospital in May following an illness. She had been suffering from dementia for some time, and doctors determined that she was eligible for Hospice care. Stewart, who works in Northern Virginia for a government contractor, knew taking care of her mom at home just wasn’t feasible. While she didn’t know what she would do in the beginning, she learned about Hospice’s inpatient facility, where her mother spent her final days.

“That first day she was admitted, she looked all around, and seemed so happy,” Stewart said.

She said staff members treated her mother with the utmost kindness and dignity.

“They were wonderful,” Stewart said of the staff. “She got the best care possible in the two weeks that she was there. It meant so much to me.”

Stewart visited each day after commuting back and forth for her job in Northern Virginia. Her mother, a lifelong resident of Jefferson County, always appeared comfortable. Singhas was loved by her late husband Julian Singhas of 58 years, who passed in 2010. Singhas was surrounded by her 2 children Bruce and Diane, as well as 6 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Stewart said her mom’s room was “beautiful and homelike” – in some ways, “better than home,” she said, referring to the round-the-clock care that her mother received.

She wanted to share her mom’s story because she knows there are others in the community who could benefit from the care.

“The ones who are left behind are the ones who benefit (from Hospice care), just as much as the patients,” she said.

After her mother died in July, Stewart’s Ministry of HOPE held a free concert at Crosspoint Church of God, where a “love offering” was taken up for Hospice of the Panhandle. She considers the $1,400 donation that concert-goers donated as a “pay it forward” action for the care and concern that she and her mother received while Singhas was in Hospice care.

Five months after Singhas passed away, Stewart’s mother-in-law, Irene Stewart, died at the inpatient facility as well, though she at first used Hospice’s in-home service before spending her final days at the facility.

“It really was full circle,” said Stewart, who, like her mother, has spent her whole life in Jefferson County. “This is just a story that I’d like people to know. I’m forever grateful.”

Maria Lorensen has been development director at Hospice of the Panhandle for 10 years. She can be reached at or (304) 264-0406, ext. 1225. Hospice of the Panhandle is a not-for-profit agency that has cared for patients and families in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Hampshire counties since 1980. For more information on hospice services, call (304) 264-0406 or visit on-line at