Our Staff

Shirley Higdon, RN, BSN    Dr. Rebecca W. Daley, D.O.
                      Shirley Higdon, RN, BSN                              Dr. Rebecca W. Daley, D.O.                    
                          Owner                                                   Medical Director                         

Melanie Behrends Yonke, LMSW

Grete Salaz, LCSW
Grete Salaz, LCSW
Social Worker
Becky Walch, BSN/RN, Supervising Nurse
Becky Walch, BSN/RN
Supervising Nurse

Dan McGookey, Chaplin
Dan McGookey

Francisco DeLa Torre, Chaplain
Francisco DeLa Torre

Tiffany Margerum


Dear Ave Maria Staff,
Please accept our sincere and grateful thanks for all of your support, love, prayers and care not only to our sister, C., but to the whole family. May God bless you all and give you strength and patience, so that you may continue this special work that you all do, and that loving care towards the people that you serve. You made us feel loved and supported. May God Bless You All, With Love, V. Family, A. P. and M. L.
Harper, Texas
Gillespie County

Our Board of Directors

Mike Dooley
Mike Dooley

Born Fredericksburg, TX, August 17, 1954; admitted to bar, 1979, Texas.
Preparatory education, St. Edward's University (B.B.A., 1976); legal education, St. Mary's University of San Antonio (J.D., with distinction, 1979); Fraternity: Phi Delta Phi.
Order of Barristers. John M. Harlan Society, 1979.
Member: State Bar of Texas; American Bar Association.

Matt Seidenberger
Vice President at Arrowhead Bank
Post Graduate Agribusiness-Texas A & M
Member - St Mary's Catholic Church - Fredericksburg, Texas
Member - Knights of Columbus
Volunteer - St. Mary's School
Married to wife-Lorena and they have 2 sons. "Matt's service as an Ave Maria Hospice Board member reflects a devotion to the respect for all life, from conception to natural death, and he feels that the great staff at Ave Maria Hospice offer a needed faith-based alternative for hospice care."

Milton Crenwelge, Auto Dealer
Milton Crenwelge
Auto Dealer
Rosemary Estenson, Gardener
Rosemary Estenson

Shirley Higdon, R.N.
Shirley Higdon, R.N.
B.S.N. - University of Texas at Tyler
Founder of Ave Maria Hospice, Inc.

Our Volunteers

What is the role of a Hospice Volunteer?

Watch this inspiring video on the many different roles available as a hospice volunteer.
You can sit, listen, read, chat, walk a dog, pet a cat, clean a kitchen, prepare a light meal, sweep a floor, run an
errand, give a caretaker a break, take flowers, make a quilt, push a wheelchair, do administrative assistance in the
hospice office, arrange floral bouquets, answer a phone or you might have professional expertise in a needed field.
Whatever you do, you will be a shining star in the life of another person.


How do volunteers describe their experiences?

"After hearing a talk about the Ave Maria Hospice, I felt that God was calling me to be a part of this ministry. Whether it is silently holding the hand of a hospice patient, giving them a smile and flower from your backyard or offering much needed respite to a patient's loved one, as a volunteer you can offer love & compassion to people through a sometimes difficult period." - Carolyn R.

"Being a Volunteer for Hospice is very rewarding. The hospice ( Ave Maria Hospice) for my wife was so helpful. As a Volunteer for these special patients, any Volunteer that helps a Hospice family is good for the patient. Volunteers are blessed by all in many ways." – Lowell S.

"Volunteering has enriched my life so much. I began volunteering at M.D. Anderson in Houston. The different positions such as Floor Host, Lay Chaplain and Patient Advocate gave me different perspectives on the needs of patients and families. I was referred to a number of people privately to help care for them in their homes, including some suffering from AIDS. I realized with this experience how much caregivers need extra special support. If you have true compassion for people and have a listening ear, you will be an excellent volunteer. Another important role is keeping families informed who are sometimes far from their loved one. There are no words to describe how rewarding it is to come alongside people facing life's most challenging time. I am so grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to bring a smile, that listening ear and a helping hand to each new family. Every volunteer knows this secret - you get even more out of volunteering than the people you serve. It’s felt deep in the heart. Call to make a difference in someone’s life - you will be blessed." – Sandy S.

What training is required to be a volunteer?

  • Comprehensive training is available at our office and some training can be done at home.
  • Call for more information. A background check, car insurance and references are required.
  • After getting to know you we can better match you with a patient with similar interests.

Our volunteers are wonderful people. They come from Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Comfort and surrounding areas. Each has a story to tell about their decision to become a hospice volunteer! If you prefer you can be matched for the area in which you live. We serve our neighbors in Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Boerne, Comfort, Ingram, Hunt, Stonewall, Harper, Bandera and Center Point plus all surrounding areas of Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr or Bandera counties.

Dear Ave Maria,
Words cannot explain how magnificent Shirley and her caregivers were to my angel and my family. They lessened our grief to a great extent. Saying thank you is not enough.
Kerrville, TX
Kerr County