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As a Certified Public Accountant, Roger Harbeson knew a thing or two about personal wealth. But if you had asked him where he put his personal investments, you might have heard answers like the Boy Scouts, St. Michael Church and Hosparus Health. Throughout his life, Roger lent his time, talent and treasure to organizations like these that were near and dear to his heart.  

“Roger gave a part of himself to whomever and whatever he was involved with,” said Father Aaron Pfaff at his funeral. “He was deeply invested in the lives that God gave him [to support].” 

Whether it was mentoring junior staff members at Monroe Shine, serving on the finance committee at church, or working on a capital campaign for Hosparus, Harbeson was known for his attention to detail, his unwavering integrity, and his calm, cool demeanor. 

We were honored to work alongside Roger for over 30 years as he selflessly volunteered his time to support our mission. He first joined the board at Hospice of Southern Indiana back in the 1980s and was instrumental in the merger with Hospice of Louisville. And in the years that followed, his leadership allowed us to expand our services to a total of 41 total counties in Kentucky and Indiana and rebrand as Hosparus Health.  

Roger’s fingerprint is embedded in many of our signature programs including Kourageous Kids, the first pediatric hospice program in the country, and Pallitus Health, serving those with serious illness. As Board Chair, he also oversaw the initial expansion of our Hosparus Health Inpatient Unit.  

Last year just before Thanksgiving, Roger was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. By May, he had exhausted all viable treatment options. Suddenly, it was he who needed our services and the Hosparus Health family was honored to have the chance to take care of him. 

The added support of the care team, including a physician, nurse, chaplain, social worker, and CNA allowed the family to focus solely on creating more memories. They packed a whole lot of living in the last few weeks of Roger’s life; there were family dinners, the birth of grandchild number four and even a vow renewal ceremony, celebrating the 38-year union of Roger and his wife, Karen. 

That last one was a surprise for most, including Roger, who learned about it moments before it began. Karen planned it in just three short days and was very intentional about the guest list; realizing this may be the last chance people would get to spend time with him.  

Realizing a reception would be too much, the couple kept the traditional receiving line. It took a good two hours for everyone to make it through. Cathy Zion, a fellow Hosparus Board member for 16 years, appreciated the opportunity to thank Roger for his friendship and his dedication to the organization.   

“By the time I made it through the receiving line, Roger was tired,” Cathy shared. “As we sat together, I told him I would try to carry forth his legacy. He looked at me squarely in the eye and said, ‘I am counting on it!’” 

Just a month after the emotional ceremony, friends and family filed back into St. Michael Church again. This time it was to say their final goodbyes.  

Can we count on you to help us carry forward Roger’s legacy? Your gift will make sure no one feels alone when they are dealing with a serious illness — and everyone is treated like family. 

If you would like to make a gift, text Thanks2022 to 41444, or donate online here.

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