June 12, 2020

Meet Marnie Verville - A Volunteer Who Wears Many Hats and Socks

Our agency’s volunteers play a key role in helping us meet our Mission. With restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our volunteer work is limited, however, they call hospice patients, pick up groceries for Hospice House, provide music outside in the Susan McLane Garden, and offer pet therapy visits outside facility windows.  

While they are still doing outstanding work, we greatly miss seeing volunteers such as Marnie Verville who has been a fixture at Hospice House for nearly as long as its existence. 

“While my husband Bill was a patient at Hospice House, the staff was so good to him,” she recalls. “That’s why I wanted to make the commitment to volunteer and I didn’t think I would last this long, but I guess they like to see me and they enjoy me.”

More than 22 years later, Marnie continues to volunteer. For those who do not know her, she is an energetic and devoted volunteer who has given an estimated more than 3,000 hours of her time.

“I feel good,” Marnie said. “I figured when I hit 90 that I would probably retire. Ninety came and I still felt fine. It would be nice if I could volunteer until I was 95.”

Marnie is loved and adored and has worn many hats since becoming a volunteer.

“When I first started, we did everything,” she said. “I visited patients and I worked in the kitchen a lot. We did not have a cook like we do today. I made special dishes and I became famous for my macaroni and cheese. That’s what patients loved. I made pies, I made good pumpkin pie.”

During her tenure, Marnie has also been a bereavement facilitator, spoken to other organizations about the importance of hospice, volunteered for the annual Hospice Lights of Life service, and has visited with patients and their families. 

During visits, many patients and families notice her knee-high socks. She had, and still does, wear the socks and seemingly has a pair for each occasion. Marnie initially began wearing bright colored socks when she was teaching first graders. 

“One funny story is that while I was at church, one of my friends said there goes Marnie,” she said. “She couldn’t see my face, but she could see my socks. Her husband asked how can you tell its Marnie. She said I know her socks.” 

When she volunteers at Hospice House, she can be typically found working with Pam Walsh in the Hospice House kitchen. 

“I do dishes and things to take the stress off her so she can concentrate on making meals,” Marnie said. “She says I keep her entertained.”

Marnie has been formally recognized for her volunteer work on two separate occasions. In 2013, she was named the Tony Lomartire Memorial Volunteer Award recipient, an honor named after Lomartire who volunteered for 27 years before passing away in 2007. She was also honored with the New England Patriots Community Quarterback Award for her compassion and commitment in 2005. 

Thankfully for our community, Marnie has no plans of slowing down and we are grateful for that. When restrictions are lifted, we will be anxious for the return of our volunteers and Marnie. It is difficult to imagine Hospice House without her.