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Pam DiDente - Board President

I was born in Tacoma, Washington. My husband, Tom Comerford,and I have have been married for 39 years and have lived in Bend for 38 years. We have a son, daughter in law, daughter and 2 grandchildren. They are the shining beacons of my life. I have my BS in nursing from Seattle U and my Nurse Practitioner MN from University of Washington. I loved my nursing career of 42 years, 29 years at St. Charles and then I ended my career teaching nursing at University of Portland. When I retired I became a volunteer ombudsman for the state of Oregon for five years, advocating for the rights of those in assisted living facilities. I loved the advocating but was drawn to the independent living focus of the village movement.  HDV has given us a new community and for me in my early 70’s meaning and purpose.

Barbara Caggiano,  Board Vice-President

I am the proud daughter of a NYC Bus driver and an independent homemaker from Queens New York. Public school kid until I left NY for college in Boston in 1973.  I obtained my degree to practice  Physical Therapy and worked in the field for over 40 years. My experience ran the gamut of clinical environments including major teaching Hospitals, Home Health, Inpatient Rehabilitation, and Skilled Nursing, in both direct patient care and management positions.

After living in Boston and loving the city for 4 years post grad I started moving west. First to Madison, WI, then Eugene, Portland and now Bend.

I retired in April of 2019. My husband Jim Cruckshank, also an HDV member, and I moved to Bend in May 2019. Jim retired in January of 2020, just before COVID changed everyone's lives. It presented challenges being in a new place under lockdown yet we have had the great luck to meet many friendly people. 

We have enjoyed travel to Africa, France, remote Montana, Alaska for a 14 day small boat trip. We are planning a trip next year to the UK for my niece's wedding. Other travels yet to be determined. 

We are happy to be in Bend and are starting to take advantage of the many things Bend has to offer. We love the ease of being on great trails quickly, and being able to just walk out the door and be at Drake Park. We have started to see more of the area including The Painted Hills, the Wallowa's, Steens Mountains, and the North Umpqua and have enjoyed it all. If you see us walking we will often be with our dog Ollie, a Cavalier King Charles. He loves Bend, he hated the rain in Portland. When we moved we did have to buy him some flannel jammies so he could be cozy by the fireplace. 

We are happy to be part of this community, and part of HDV where there are wonderful people with a common cause. 

Karen Mitchell,   Secretary

 I was born and raised in the Southern Oregon Rogue Valley.  I moved to Bend in 1986 where I met the love of my life, my husband, Keith.  I began my career in banking as a loan officer but after a personal experience with cancer my priorities changed and I began working at the Central Oregon Cancer Treatment Center.  While there I was in involved with the Navigator Program for breast cancer patients, the Sara Fisher Project and Soaring Spirits Survivorship Camp.  I was also a founding board member of the local Ronald McDonald House.  We have been very blessed in our family with our two sons, daughter in-laws, beautiful grandchildren and extended family.  We enjoy relaxing while fishing, especially for salmon and steelhead.  I have been with HDV since 2018 serving as the board secretary and also as a member of the Helping Hands Team.

Bob Goold,  Treasurer

 Born in Twin Falls Idaho and grew up on a small farm near Burley.  Served two years in the army in the military police.  While attending the local community college during the farming offseason I found that accounting was interesting.  I met my wife Laura in Boise while finishing my accounting degree. We ended up in her hometown of Madras in 1983 where I worked for the local CPA and she commuted to St. Charles.  It didn’t take long to realize we should move to Bend.  We both retired a few years ago.

Jan Hildreth,   Health Advocacy Team Lead

I grew up in Eugene, went to U. of O. School of Nursing, married, had 2 daughters (and now 3 grandchildren).  Divorced after living in Colorado, Maine and Australia.   Moved to Bend in 1971 and have worked at the Deschutes County Health Dept, COCC, St Charles Medical Center, and private practice as FNP.  Since retirement have volunteered for Partners in Care with both Transition (“medically fragile”) and Hospice patients. I volunteer with C.O Symphony and the Central Oregon Parkinson’s Council and soon to be involved with Council on Aging’s program “Aging Together”.  In 2018 I was treated for a very rare and aggressive type of breast cancer and discovered much to be grateful for!    Love to x-c ski, hike and bike.

Donna Bisset,  Helping Hands Team Lead

Donna Bisset was raised in a small town on the Columbia River Gorge, The Dalles, Oregon.  She has twin sons and a daughter.  It was her daughter who first relocated to Bend, she followed soon after.  In all, she has six creative, energetic, fun-loving grandchildren.

Donna retired seven years ago from a career as a Human Resources Manager of a major Recycling firm in Portland.  She served as a member of the Executive Team.  She brought voice to employee needs and concerns.  After retiring she served as an Account Manager for United Way of the Columbia Willamette, believing volunteerism builds empathy and connects you to humanity.

Connect, connect, connect!  She feels confident in HDV’s Mission.  Keep it simple, problem solve, with a focus on independent living.  Allowing members to age with dignity while remaining  in their homes.  

It was the realization that for much of our work life, we were defined by our job.  Now music, woodcarving, sketching and watercolor fill her small Bend home studio bringing an even better definition to what’s to come. 

Donna believes in the “I am__________”, that whatever follows the I am _________, will come looking for you.  She is grateful for hearts beating, able to pull air into our lungs.  She is all in with the Village People!  (That should be a song!)

Irene Nuzzo,  Good Time Team Lead

Born and raised in Boston's Little Italy.  I spent most of my career in the Hospitality Industry.  When the 3rd offer to move to California came knocking, I thought it was time.  Once I went over the Coronado Bridge I was hooked!  Then onto Laguna Beach to join the Ritz Carlton and  on to my favorite, The San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara.

With a constant pull to New England, I returned to be near family.  I settled in Stowe, Vermont to raise my 2 two daughters.

My last 10 years as Sales Director for the Stowe Reporter and Vermont Community Newspaper Group.

I semi-retired to Bend in 2019, for SUNSHINE like CALIFORNIA and LESS SNOW than VERMONT.   (this is my response to the question I am frequently asked). 

I enjoy cooking, yoga, beautiful bend walks, community, piano lesson(now that I have time to practice)and spending time with my amazing daughters!

Marilyn Sterbick,   Membership Team Lead

I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, attending Aquinas Academy for High School, and University of Puget Sound, majoring in Vocal Music and Education.  Job and music opportunities took me to the Monterey Peninsula in my 20’s but we adventured to Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula where vocal music and teaching remained my every day life as well as becoming a mother.  I met Jeff in 1988.  At that time I had also changed professional interests in Music Therapy and started working on a Masters in Psychology in Seattle’s Antioch University program.  I worked with adults using Music Therapy’s Guided Imagery and Music modality, but also began working with children using creative therapies in sand tray and art.  I spent the last 25 years of work as a therapist in the schools.  

When my son and family moved to Bend to follow his passion of snowboarding and ski patrolling at Mt. Bachelor, the opportunity came for us to sell our home on Marrowstone Island and move next door in 2017. We love being next door, but also keep close ties with Port Townsend and travel up to our “tiny house” often.  Jeff is the “builder of things”…and I make a good “go-for” and creative assistant!  

Since moving to Bend, I sing with Cascade Chorale, Central Oregon Master Singers and Rainshadow Chorale (in Port Townsend).  I am currently learning to play the harp!  I built my Pygmy Arctic 14 kayak and love to use it both here and the Salish Sea (Puget Sound), and hike as often as I can.  I really enjoy being on the High Desert Village Membership Team!

Leslie Miller,  Drivers Team Lead

I was born, raised and educated 30 miles north of Seattle in Everett, WA. I was married for 21 years with no children. In 1986, following my husband’s death, I continued to put my focus on my professional and volunteer life. From 1962-2001, I was a medical technologist working in the clinical laboratory at the Providence Medical Center in Everett. From 1987-2001, I was the Logistics Manager for an inter-laboratory courier service and in 2001 I finally retired from Providence Medical Center in Everett.  

Also during this time I volunteered and explored multiple community service opportunities. This included: volunteering for as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff in Snohomish County WA, managing a county political campaign for the County Sheriff for 2 (3 year) terms, selling police and fire equipment for a Seattle based company, creating my own international professional speaking business (till I had to put it aside to care for aging parents) and being active as a volunteer for Providence Hospice and Homecare. 

In 2005, I was asked to come to Bend to work as a program manager for a non-denominational not-for-profit organization called the Sacred Art of Living Center. This organization presents workshops and seminars on end or life issues for healthcare, hospice, education, and for the general public. What I took away from SALC was the merging of my “Role and Soul.” In other words who I am and what I do. I spent 9 years working for SALC with the last few years working in Logistics and Transportation while arranging the transporting materials around the USA and Internationally for our various programs. In 2014, I took my second retirement.

 My life today involves enjoying a more peaceful and relaxed retired lifestyle. This includes continuing to focus on my spiritual life and what I have learned in this complex "Book of Life" that I have lead. I also continue to enjoy local activities and adding to my extensive national & international travel plus volunteering, voracious reading, watching movies, being with friends and exploring the scenic beauty of Bend, OR. 

Gene Storm,  Handyman Team Lead

Born and raised in Chicago, I began my adventures in life by enlisting in the Navy after graduating high school. I returned home after my discharge and attended Chicago City College. I also went to work for City News Bureau, essentially a “boot camp” for aspiring journalists.  My life took a different turn after meeting Joette, my wife to be, while we were both employed as reporters at the Chicago Tribune. After marrying we quit our jobs to tour Europe by motorcycle for five months. Following that adventure, our professional pursuits took us to Alaska where we lived for the next 42 years. I continued as a journalist for most of that time, working over the years for both Anchorage newspapers and monthly business publications. After retirement we relocated to Bend in 2013. It is an ideal location for launching adventures in our travel trailer.  

Richard Clemens,   ComTech Team Lead

After retiring from many years working in various educational settings, we moved to Bend from Harrisonburg Virginia to be close to our daughter and granddaughter. We have a son and family who live in upstate New York so the challenge remains to be able to see them across the many miles. I spent the last 30 years working in the field of Instructional Technology so I am grateful for the ways to still make connections with distant family members and friends through various technologies. I am enjoying getting to know the Pacific Northwest since this is the first opportunity we have to live in this part of the country. I enjoy camping, music, a variety of athletic activities and strive to be a lifelong learner. I look forward to this next chapter of life here in Bend.