Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Agnes Poore (left) and Lynette Jaramillo started Casa de la Luz, one of greater Tucson’s largest hospices, 10 years ago.

A decade ago, Agnes Poore and Lynette Jaramillo mortgaged both of their homes and got a loan to help finance a new business — one that would make life as comfortable as possible for people with terminal illnesses.

This year, Casa de la Luz celebrates its 10th anniversary. The hospice, at 400 W. Magee Road, serves an average of 1,200 patients a year thanks to about 170 employees and another 70 volunteers.

This makes Casa de la Luz one of the largest hospices in greater Tucson, but that’s not what matters to its co-owners.

“It has never been our goal to be the largest,” said Jaramillo, “just to be the best and give back to this community.”

Both Poore and Jaramillo worked in home health care in 1997 when the business they worked for was sold. Not wanting to go through that process ever again, Jaramillo started her own business plan.

A year later, the two started Casa de la Luz hospice with a mission to help families reach acceptance of a loved one’s death. To this day they still adhere to that mission.

“Never do we vary from what it is that we are doing,” said Dasa Schmidt, director of marketing. “Every day I come to work and we are still doing the exact same thing. We only do hospice care. And we do superior hospice care.”

Casa de la Luz formed a foundation in 2000 to help families with funeral expenses, transportation for visits and, among other things, coping with the loss of a loved one.

Casa de la Luz offers residential care along with in-home and inpatient care. The first residential hospice in Arizona was Casa de la Luz’s Kanmar Place, which opened in 2001.

With a 4,000-square-foot living space and a surrounding desert environment, Casa de la Luz’s Kanmar Place offers specialized care for people who are facing life-limiting illness in a comfortable, home-like environment.

“If there was any job that I could do it would be to support people whose loved ones are dying,” said Jaramillo.

In the future, Jaramillo and Poore are looking to add a new campus where all their services can be offered under one roof rather than being spread across numerous offices.

Their seven-year business plan has taken the business to 10 years, and they know of no reason why it will not make it another 10.

“We will continue to do this as long as we are benefiting a community and our patients,” said Poore.

For more information, go to www.casahospice.com

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