Helfenbein named new hospice board chairman
CENTREVILLE — Tom Helfenbein of Stevensville recently was named chairman of the Compass Regional Hospice board of directors. He steps into the role after serving on the board since 2010 and follows Kathy Deoudes, who remains a member of the board.
Before retiring in 2014, Helfenbein was the president and CEO of Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral Homes. He started his career in the funeral business with Hubbard Funeral Homes in Baltimore, which inspired him to attend mortuary school to become a licensed funeral director.
Helfenbein later moved to the Eastern Shore to partner with Hubbard in operating a funeral business in Church Hill and Chester. Since then, he has partnered with Newnam Funeral Home in Talbot County, Fellows Funeral Home in Kent County and Fleegle and Helfenbein Funeral Home in Caroline County.
“My proudest accomplishment was being a first generation funeral director,” Helfenbein said.
Now all three of his sons are licensed funeral directors and run the Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral Homes in Queen Anne’s, Kent, Talbot and Anne Arundel counties.
In his retirement, Helfenbein said he enjoys spending time with his wife, Bobbye, their children and seven grandchildren.
“Tom’s expertise and compassion for helping families through difficult and delicate end-of-life processes mirrors the culture of hospice,” said Heather Guerieri, executive director, Compass Regional Hospice. “Helfenbein has been an active member and longtime supporter of hospice services in our community, as he was involved in the startup of Hospice of Queen Anne’s, now Compass Regional Hospice. His advocacy for end-of-life care is what makes Tom an ideal candidate for board chair.”
Serving with Helfenbein on the executive committee of Compass Regional Hospice’s board are Edward Allen, vice chairman; Julie McMahan Thomas, secretary; and Teresa Baumann, treasurer.
“I strongly believe that hospice should have been an accepted part of our culture a long time ago. The fact that we are able to help people maintain dignity at the end of their life is a wonderful thing,” Helfenbein said.