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She was born in 1927.

After achieving her GED, she earned her associate degree in 1981, while raising four children.

She served her family, church, and community all her life in her roles as a mother, social worker, volunteer, and co-founder of the Dare to Care food program.

She got a tattoo (the logo of her beloved New York Yankees baseball team) in 2002, at age 75.

And this May, at age 95, she was awarded an official recognition as an alumnus from the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work.

Verna Kolb-Ungvarsky was living proof that building a great life can last your entire life. (Especially with the support of family and friends.)

Welcoming Hosparus Health into the family

Even as illness and aging started limiting Verna’s physical activity, her big heart and its dreams weren’t finished. She and her family began our services in March 2022, and the connection between Verna, her family, and the Hosparus Health team was immediate.

Hosparus Health Social Worker Dana takes up the story. “We came to Verna’s home and talked to her about our services … What the nurse does, what the social worker does, what the chaplain does … and we got to meet her fun family and make sure she had the necessities she needed to make sure she was safe to stay at home and receive her care.”

Verna’s daughter Paula chimed in, “Hosparus has been a godsend. Truly, the team — they have all been so wonderful. They have been attentive, and they have taken Mom’s needs and any questions… they have taken in our needs, too. They are family now.”

More moments, more connections, more time together …

One benefit of Hosparus Health’s care is how it creates time and space for reflection and meaningful connection by relieving family members of some caregiving duties.

Says Hosparus Chaplain Connie “I think by being at home, Verna was able to have some conversations with her daughters; conversations with her son, that they will cherish forever. It’s that sacred, sacred, space … sometimes in a hospital or nursing home, you don’t have that opportunity. And that is precious time that you’ll never ever get back, it is a true gift.”

“There was no graduate ever happier than I am.”

– Verna Ungvarsky

and more opportunity to help dreams come true.

Connie describes frank discussions with Verna about her dreams and wishes.

In one of those discussions, a very specific dream emerged: Verna regretted never having the time or resources to finish her bachelor’s degree from UofL’s Kent School of Social Work.

Said social worker, Dana, “Connie texted me that day and said, ‘Do you think we can do that?’ And I said, ‘I have no idea. But we could certainly try!’”

Connie and Dana began researching; calling everyone they could find at UofL. One referral led to another, and to another (and sometimes a few dead ends).

And after dedicated weeks of effort, on May 27, 2022, UofL Kent School of Social Work Dean, Dr. David Jenkins, and UofL Vice President of Alumni Relations, Josh Hawkins, arrived at Verna’s home and surprised her with official recognition as a graduate of the University of Louisville.

Verna’s family and Hosparus team had arranged a celebration, where she marveled at the outpouring of love, compassion, and UofL-themed gifts: “I never dreamed I’d ever, ever have a diploma or be a member of the alumni of The Kent School. And you folks have made that happen. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless each of you.”

Dean Jenkins replied, “You’ve given us a huge amount of joy and pride knowing that you’re one of our graduates.”


Just a few weeks later, on June 16, 2022, Verna passed on peacefully at home at age 95, surrounded by her family. Her story will continue touching lives and hearts, including those in her new UofL Alumni family.

We thank you, Verna, and your family, for the opportunity to know you. Your love, your story, and your legacy of service will inspire many more lives, long into the future.

Watch the video on Verna’s story here.


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