Our Staff
Mary Thorsby

Mary Thorsby

Chief Executive Officer

Mary is a longtime community builder and connector who has spent more than 20 years working with and advising entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits. Mary produced our Summer 2019 Omega Home Network National Conference here in San Antonio. She became so drawn to ABODE that when the ED position opened, she jumped at the chance to contribute her skills, talents and passion to our organization. “Our staff and volunteers have the most beautiful ability to make our Guests feel welcomed, valued and celebrated,” Mary says. “What a wonderful way to touch people’s lives at the very end of their lives – it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever experienced.” Mary is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.

Nicole Adams

Nicole Adams

End-of-Life Navigator

Nicole originally came to ABODE in 2017 as a volunteer and then stepped away due to personal health challenges. It’s that experience that made her an advocate for heart-centered compassionate care and education.

 Nicole has provided end-of-life care since 2007 and believes that embracing death has much to teach us about meaningful living so we can have an empowered death. Nicole is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.

Claudia Baca

Claudia Baca

End-of-Life Navigator

Claudia shares her calm, gentle and contemplative approach to care during our overnight shifts – typically the time most Guests pass away. She’s there to hold their hand and offer words of love and compassion and she walks them home. Claudia has been caring for people at end of life since she was 14 years old. “I was born to do this – I know I was,” Claudia says. “My experience all came together when my husband got sick last year. I knew what to do, and I was able to give him the love and care he needed most in his final days.”

Natalie Buster

Natalie Buster

End-of-Life Navigator and End-of-Life Yoga and Doula Director

Natalie is our Bedside Yoga instructor and then joined us as an End-of-Life Navigator – and then enjoyed our doula program so much that she now leads it! She says she immediately fell in love with ABODE as soon as she walked through the door.

“I had the privilege to be with my mom during her final moments,” Natalie says. “ABODE has allowed me to continue to show that same love and service to our Guests. I’m grateful for the opportunity to become very comfortable with death and the dying process.” Natalie is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula and leads our new End-of-Life Yoga program, as well.

Anthony Morales

Anthony Morales

End-of-Life Navigator and House Manager

Anthony is a healthcare student, taking a hiatus from his studies to focus on contemplative care and practices here at ABODE. He has over two decades of managerial and training experience and has worked and volunteered with several community service-oriented nonprofits and other organizations in our area.

 

Anthony’s personal motto: “Start with kindness and come from a place of love.” Anthony is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.
Terry Ramirez

Terry Ramirez

End-of-Life Navigator

A couple of years ago, Terry enrolled in Foundations of Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center. Learning contemplative care practices that can support those who are experiencing transitions like illness, dying, grief and loss has broken her heart open and given her a glimpse of what it feels like to live a wholehearted life of service.

When she heard about ABODE’s contemplative approach to end of life care, she hoped that would be the next step on her path. Just beginning her role as an End of Life Navigator, she is curious about how she can continue to serve the Guests who find their way to ABODE as they labor toward what lies ahead. Terry is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.

Crystal Reisner

Crystal Reisner

End-of-Life Navigator

Crystal’s brother Joe was a recent Guest here at ABODE, and when we saw the love and compassion that she shared with him during her regular visits, we knew she would be a perfect match for our team. Crystal also cared for her mother in her last phase of life. Crystal is an avid athlete, noting that physical exercise keeps her grounded and stronger emotionally. “I love ABODE,” she says. “It’s a great place to learn about death…and life.”

Sarah Sasek

Sarah Sasek

End-of-Life Navigator

In 2022, Sarah had the honor of caring for a recent ancestor, friend and peer who was working with a terminal diagnosis near the end of life. Deeply transformed by this experience and moved with an awe-struck grief, Sarah felt a clear calling to become an apprentice to death-work. Remembering that her own uncle had been a hospice chaplain and had told her about a place called ABODE, she reached out to Edwin and Patsy Sasek – the Founders of ABODE – and was invited to relocate across the country to follow her calling.

In death-work, Sarah listens deeply to what it means to be alive, humbled by the intimacy of bearing witness, and in daily practice of being with the unknown. She is committed to the continuance of care of each Guest, even after they have taken their last breath – offering ritual, song and presence. They feel it is truly an honor to companion those in their final act of living. Sarah is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula.

John Vinson

John Vinson

End-of-Life Navigator

John has been with ABODE since the beginning. His love and attentive care for our Guests is a living example of our mission, vision and values. Some of John’s empathy for hospice patients and their families comes from his personal experience of caring for his first wife who died over 20 years ago from cancer, leaving John a grieving widower with their children – the youngest a six-month-old infant. John has dedicated more than 35 years of his life serving others globally through mission and non-profit work. His experience with caring for people in medically fragile situations as well as at the end of their lives since the mid-1980s has helped to shape him into a valuable asset to our team at ABODE. John is an ABODE Certified End-of-Life Doula and Certified Grief Educator.

Photos by Lynn Perez, The Parting Planner