A personal note from our CEO, Mary Kay Sheehan

Portrait photo of Duane Krieger

As you may know by now, Mr. Duane Krieger died last week. Lightways Hospice and Serious Illness care had the privilege of caring for him and his family in our inpatient unit in Joliet. What you may not know is that Duane was CEO of the organization (Joliet Area Community Hospice at the time), who found the land, raised the money, and put the first shovel in the ground to build that inpatient unit! The first hospice inpatient residence (inpatient unit) in the state of Illinois. Duane made it possible for this state to finally care for dying patients in an inpatient facility staffed 24/7 by nurses, nurses’ aides, social workers, chaplains, physicians, integrative therapists, volunteers, and physical therapists. A sixteen-bed facility that felt like home on a beautiful property surrounded by a pond, a walking path, flowers, trees as well as our administrative building. Hospices from around the state came to see the residence in Joliet, myself included while I worked for another organization also building a residence.

By his side all those years, was his wife Dee, who is still a member of our Hospice Guild. The Guild has raised over $1M to support our mission including the inpatient unit.

Since Duane’s vision became a reality in 2004, we have been able to increase the number of beds to twenty and then to twenty-four thanks to Natalie Manley and the state of Illinois. In 2023 we cared for 753 patients in that hospice unit. The state of Illinois has only eight of these facilities.

I will be forever grateful to Duane for his commitment to this community and the care of hospice patients. He is the definition of grass roots advocacy and doing the right thing. And I will miss him, his stories, and his happy “Cheers” when he said goodbye. Cheers Duane, until I see you again.


Mary Kay Sheehan
Lightways Hospice and Serious Illness Care

Lightways Yellow Star