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Hanson Family Contributes $1.5 Million to Hospice Residence for Southwest Michigan - Archived
(ST. JOSEPH) – Lakeland HealthCare and Hospice at Home, a Lakeland HealthCare Affiliate, are pleased to announce that Merlin and Carolyn Hanson have committed a $1.5 million lead gift towards a dedicated hospice residence for southwest Michigan. The Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center will be adjacent to the new Lakeland Continuing Care Center now under construction on Cleveland Avenue in Stevensville. The entire 18-acre complex will be named the Hanson Care Park in the Hansons’ honor. The Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center will be the first of its kind in Berrien County; currently, patients and families needing hospice care in a specialized hospice setting must relocate to Holland, Kalamazoo, or South Bend.

“We thank the Hansons for their leadership and dedication to meeting the need for residential hospice care in southwest Michigan,” said Dan Hopp, Chairman of the Board, Lakeland HealthCare. “Their gift paves the way for creating a more welcoming and comfortable place for hospice patients and their families.”

Lifelong residents of the Michiana area, the Hanson name is synonymous with integrity, ingenuity, and leadership. After more than 50 years of creating and leading several successful local companies, Merlin Hanson’s business acumen is highly regarded. He is Chairman of the Board of Hanson Group, the parent company for Hanson Logistics, Hanson Mold, Eagle Technologies, and Pure Fact Water.

“People are the most important asset we have at Hanson Group,” said Merlin Hanson. “This gift is an effort to honor and give back some of our success to the people who’ve worked for us – and still work for us – as well as to the community. The hospice residence will strengthen the community and provide comfort for many well into the future.”

At the 16-bed residence, families will be encouraged to participate in the care of their loved ones whenever and however their abilities allow. Unlimited 24-hour visitation will encourage visitors and even pets to be present.

“Without the generosity of community leaders like the Hansons, people who call this area home would have a lesser quality of life. And those truly in need would go without,” said Loren B. Hamel, MD, President & CEO, Lakeland HealthCare. “At the end of life, it is especially important for our patients and their loved ones to experience comfort, compassion, and tender care. The Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center will provide an unmet service and enhance the remaining days of life for many.”

The recent integration of Hospice at Home and Lakeland HealthCare, both not-for-profit organizations, has helped bring the concept of a local hospice residence to the fore as Lakeland strives to deliver medical services for all those in need at every stage of their lives. All patients and families will be served at the new Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center regardless of ability to pay.

“Hospice at Home, along with countless people in the community who have supported us for over 30 years, has held the vision for a hospice residence for many years,” said Linda Beushausen, CEO of Hospice at Home and Vice President, Life Transitions and Advance Healthcare Planning, Lakeland HealthCare. “We’re one step closer to our vision becoming a reality because of this gift and our partnership with Lakeland HealthCare. For this we are extremely grateful. This incredible gift to the community will profoundly impact many individuals and families who turn to us at the end of life. The Hanson family is creating a lasting legacy of care in our community.”

The $5.5 million construction cost of the 18,400-square-foot Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center will be completely dependent upon philanthropic support.

“Gifts like the one from the Hansons act as a springboard for the community to step in and get involved, knowing that this is a good thing for all of southwest Michigan,” said David Burghart, President, Lakeland Health Foundations. “This leadership gift will spark the philanthropic spirit of the community and people will rally with support.”

The Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center will include large, private patient rooms with provisions for family to stay overnight, large and small gathering rooms, and a comforting environment. The patient rooms will feature adjoining private baths and decor that is comfortable, calm, and peaceful. Each room will have natural views or a small private patio area where patients and families can enjoy companionship in an open-air setting. The grounds will invite walks and quiet time in nature, with walkways accommodating beds so that patients can be included in this comforting activity. The facility will have common areas and private alcoves for conversation and comfort.

The project will need final approval from both of the boards of directors of Lakeland HealthCare and Hospice at Home, a Lakeland HealthCare Affiliate. A ground breaking is tentatively scheduled for September. It is anticipated that the new residence will add 21 new full-time, direct-care positions.

Further details about the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center will be released in the coming weeks. For more information about supporting the new hospice residence, contact the Lakeland Health Foundations at (269) 927-5143. For more information about hospice services available through Hospice at Home, Lakeland HealthCare Affiliate, visit

An artist’s rendering of the front of the 16-bed Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center and a detail of the main entry.

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