The Central New York Community lost a special advocate and dedicated volunteer on August 31st. Roslyn Bilford passed away after a long, productive and successful life. There are many agencies that she influenced in this community, and Hospice of CNY was fortunate to be one of them. Her contributions at Hospice will never be forgotten. While Ros was working for the CNY Health Systems Agency, she began to see a need for society to address the issues of the increasing number of elderly people. She identified with Kubler Ross’ book On Death and Dying and recognized the need for hospice in our community, as people were living longer and end-of-life care issues were not being properly addressed. Her involvement with what eventually became The Caring Coalition of Central New York (Hospice of CNY) started with Hospice’s pre-curser, Alethea: The Center on Death and Dying. Her dedication to end-of-life care led her to be part of the Steering Committee that founded The Caring Coalition and secured Medicare certification, an accomplishment that Ros was very proud of. Those early years for Alethea and The Caring Coalition did not come without controversy and struggle. She endured many tough times as a volunteer Board Member for nearly 20 years and through it all she felt strongly about the benefit that the Agency provided to patients and families and the impact on the community.
At Hospice of CNY, we will remember Ros for her knowledge, leadership skills, tenacity, and ability to remember history with great detail. Her community involvement impacted many agencies including Meals on Wheels, the Alzheimers Association, the NYS Home Care Association, the Governor’s Council on Home Care Services, the American Lung Association, Oasis, Menorah Park, The Syracuse Home, BC/BS of CNY, Syracuse Jewish Federation, and Syracuse Jewish Family Service. Ros will be remembered and always appreciated for her dedication to the causes that she believed in, a dedication that spanned many years of service to Hospice of CNY and over 35 years of financial support. Her legacy will forever be a part of our history and her commitment to our mission will impact our future for years to come.