Beth Graber joined the HOH board in 2009 after experiencing first-hand the important and highly supportive services hospice provides to families facing end-of-life transitions. As a long-time professor of composition and communications at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College/University of Alaska Anchorage, a frequent community volunteer, and a former board member of other local non-profits, she hopes that her background, experience, and commitment to our mission will help ensure that our community continues to have ready and growing access to the compassionate, professional, and necessary services Hospice of Homer provides.
Beth is the current Hospice board president.
Linda Martin moved to Homer with her husband Larry, a lifelong resident of this town, in 1982. In 1990 the couple started Lakeshore Glass, a full-service glass shop on Lakeshore Drive. It was a family business until their two children graduated from Homer High School and moved away to attend college and establish their own lives. In 2008 Linda began a low-residency graduate program through Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing in 2011. The University of Alaska Press published her book of poetry in 2015. Linda has been a hospice supporter for many years, inspired by the care provided to family friend Bob Allison as he was dying of cancer. Both her mother and her sister received hospice care in Missoula, Montana. Her favorite hospice programs are dollar-a- day donation and the Light Up A Life tree at Christmas time.
Hal Spence moved to Homer in October 1981, a year later landing a job as a photographer and reporter for the Homer News. He spent 19 years with the Homer paper, followed by seven more with the Peninsula Clarion. During that time, he covered city, borough and state politics, natural resources, the environment, and more. He served as a board member, secretary and president of the Alaska Press Club during the 1990s. Since early 2009, he’s been doing contract consulting for several environmental organizations, among them Cook Inletkeeper, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, and World Wildlife Fund. Spence also is a musician and has played with various bands in the Homer area since the 1980s. His interests lie in the sciences, especially particle physics and cosmology. He and his wife Lynn, a former Hospice of Homer staffer, have a daughter, Katherine, in college in New York. When asked to join the Hospice of Homer board, Hal easily answered that question with a resounding yes, wanting to offer his talents to the HOH and the community.
Hal is the current board secretary.
Sara Woltjen moved from Chicago, Illinois to Homer in July 1993. She is the manager of the South Peninsula Hospital General Surgery, Orthopedic and Specialty Clinic. Sara is passionate about the mission of Hospice of Homer and hopes to contribute to the organization’s continued ability to provide support to those in need of its services.
Lise Klein Kirsis has lived in Homer since 2004. Lise completed a graduate degree social anthropology in 1994 studying birth, death and traditional medicine across cultures. In 1999 she attended and completed training at Mass. General Hospital in Massachusetts to practice hospital chaplaincy. Finding her calling in emergency room and crisis mental health work while training as a chaplain, Lise entered the field of emergency mental health services. She completed a graduate degree in counseling along the way and has been employed from 1999 to the present as a mental health psychotherapist and emergency services clinician. She has also been called to attend many deaths and provide support to the family over the years. Lise values Hospice for a number of reasons. She has seen Hospice contribute wonderful support too many families and to individuals who are experiencing the dying process. She also feels that Hospice was incredibly helpful for her personally during and after the deaths of her mother, father and husband.
Michael Hawfield is a resident of Homer, Alaska, and is employed as Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College/ UAA. He is a graduate in history from Lynchburg College in Virginia, holds and MA in history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and completed his PhD work in history at the University of Virginia. Since 1972 he has taught history classes as an adjunct or term professor in colleges and universities in Virginia, Indiana and Alaska and has been a full-time instructor in Alaska since 2008. He is the author of six books on local history (Indiana), numerous articles, and several radio programs in history (Indiana and Alaska). He entered the museum field in 1979 and has since been a director of historical museums and societies in Indiana (Fort Wayne) and in Alaska (the Pratt Museum). He has been president of the Association of Indiana Museums, Vice-Chairman of the Midwest Museums Conference, and president and executive director of Museums Alaska. He is currently treasurer of the Alaska Historical Society.
Michael is the current board treasurer.
Charlie received a Master of Social Work degree with specialization in program administration from the University of Arkansas in 1972 and is board certified in healthcare management by the American College of Healthcare Executives. He served 25 years in the Army Medical Service Corps in a variety of healthcare administration positions, coming to Alaska in 1993 as the CEO of Bassett Army Hospital in Fairbanks. He retired from the Army in 1995 at the rank of Colonel and then served as the CEO of South Peninsula Hospital for 12 years. He retired again and then was asked to serve as the Administrator of Heritage Place nursing home in Soldotna where he worked from 2009 to 2015. Charlie has been active on the Board of Directors of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, serving several terms as the Chair of the Acute Care Committee and the Long Term Care Committee; and also serving terms as the Secretary, Vice-Chair, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He was the Alaska delegate to the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Council 2004 – 2007. He has also been active in local community organizations, serving on the Board of Directors of the Homer Chamber of Commerce for six years, including terms as Vice President and President. Charlie was a member of the Vocational Education Advisory Committee of the Homer High School; a member of the Board of Directors of the Homer Infant Learning Center, and the Kenai Peninsula College Council. His retirement activities include kayaking, gardening, beekeeping, woodworking, skiing and fishing. Charlie had wonderful support from Hospice in Arkansas with the death of his mother and in his work in hospitals and nursing homes has seen many examples of how Hospice can help families.