The Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums, the Putnam County Sheriff with his own special award and about 450 revelers filled the Amber Room on May 2nd to celebrate two outstanding leaders at the heart of Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s history.
Dr. Bob Kloss, one of our Regional Hospice founders in 1983, who has also been our medical director since our earliest days, and Ed Ronan, Jr., CPA, the treasurer on our volunteer board of directors who ushered Regional Hospice through the creation of our Center for Comfort Care & Healing, received the 2017 Community Leadership Award at the Danbury Giving Circle’s Annual Breakfast.
Family, music, an inspirational mentor and the real estate mantra: location, location, location, put Dr. Robert “Bob” Kloss on a path that changed the course of end-of-life care for families in our region.
Together Dr. Albert Casazza and Dr. John Pezzimenti of Associated Internists, Dr. Kloss founded Regional Hospice and Palliative Care in Danbury in 1983. Bob took on the mantle as medical director during 1985, and has been its compassionate and guiding clinical force ever since.
Sailing, Music and a Soul Mate
Born in Edgewater Park, New Jersey, a town along the Delaware River close to the Jersey Shore, Bob grew up with a passion for sailing and gift for music—an accomplished pianist and organist who played in church throughout high school and college. It was also at church where he met a dear friend who would become his future wife—Kathy Taylor—they were both five years old. They married in 1978 after Kathy finished her Master’s in Performing Arts at Julliard and Bob was in the last year of his residency at SUNY Buffalo.
A Mentor and a Path to Regional Hospice History
After graduating with honors from University of Pennsylvania followed by Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Bob did his internship and residency at SUNY Buffalo where he met Dr. Rose Ruth Ellison, a pioneer in cancer chemotherapy. Dr. Ellison’s research and fervor for her work inspired Bob, and Ellison became his mentor as well as a catalyst for his specialty in hematology/oncology.
Ellison and Buffalo’s lack of a thriving classical music scene motivated Kloss’s trek toward Danbury. By 1978, Ellison became the head of oncology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center—a position that would bring Bob and Kathy, back to New York in 1979, where Kathy, a clarinetist, could resume her career. After completing his fellowship in oncology/hematology at Columbia Presbyterian, Bob joined Associated Internists of Danbury in July of 1981—the rest is Regional Hospice history.
A Skeptical Medical Community Embraces Quality of Life
As their family grew and ensconced themselves into the Redding community, Kathy’s career included regional and national music performances; they shared a shared family passion for sailing with their two sons Rob and James, and Bob has served on the vestry at Christ Church Redding. He is currently the treasurer of Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums.
In addition to continuing as Regional Hospice’s beloved sage and medical director, Bob had spent ten years as the director of in-patient oncology at Danbury Hospital, now Western CT Health Network, and served as the WCHN Chief of Hematology-Oncology until October 2016.
Bob Kloss’ leadership at Regional Hospice saw a skeptical medical community grow to embrace quality of life over the pursuit of continued treatments that were hastening mortality rather than providing a cure. Bob also experienced Regional Hospice’s earliest growing pains and later shared in the dream and the planning to make our Center for Comfort Care and Healing a reality.
In his typically understated manner, Bob credits past and current leadership for the growth and reputation for clinical excellence that Regional Hospice has achieved throughout his thirty-five years of unyielding dedication. “Al Casazza was a powerful force in the community; he had a vision; he was a kick-starter for the hospice movement in our area. Cynthia was exactly that for the center; it was time—we had needed it for far too long.”
Thank you, Dr. Bob Kloss—we could not have done it without YOU! We honor you for your vision, your leadership and your resolve to bring enhanced quality of life, peace and comfort to families, and for never losing your passion or idealism through thirty-five years of transition and growth.
Behind every non-profit’s dream come true are a dedicated board of directors that includes an accountant with a phone full of contacts and a heart full of empathy.
Regional Hospice and Palliative Care ( RHPC) Volunteer Board ofDirectors brought Ed Ronan, Jr. CPA, onboard in 2008—a pivotal year for a long-held vision: RHPC leadership were developing plans to build the state’s first in-patient, private-suite, specialty hospital to care for dying patients and support their loves ones.
Ed brought 40 years of financial acumen as a certified public accountant guiding individuals, businesses and non-profits in their financial planning and assurance. He also brought a personal understanding the hospice mission and a network of family, friends and business associates who could help Regional Hospice raise awareness for the $14 million undertaking that would change hospice care as we know it in Connecticut.
A Compassionate Believer
Regional Hospice and Palliative Care’s mission is empowered by compassionate believers who bring us their hearts, talents and tenacious spirits. Ed and his wife, Mary Connelly Ronan, became compassionate believers twenty-nine years ago when Mary’s mom had died at the age of 57, the same day their daughter, Maggie, was born.
Their experience with hospice care at home lifted an overwhelming burden off of their family’s shoulders. It allowed them to concentrate on precious time left with Mrs. Connelly as Ed and Mary prepared for their baby’s birth. The loving staff caring for Mary’s mom helped them make sense out of the complicated feelings of loss and the joy of their beautiful, healthy baby.
More recently during Ed’s father’s illness and passing, Ed and his whole family expressed the change that took place as soon and they walked through the double doors into the patient wing of the Center for Comfort Care & Healing. “We felt completely unburdened and embraced by peace after a particularly agonizing time. The experience of the Regional Hospice staff and the care at the Center moved all of us to be even more ardent advocates.”
Faith, Family & Community Spirit
Ed Ronan’s hospice spirit is infused by his faith and commitment to family and community service. Born in Yonkers the oldest of five boys, Ed’s family moved to Ridgefield when he was seven. He graduated from Ridgefield High School with plans to go to college to “…do what Ronan men do—we become accountants.”
After graduating from University of Bridgeport with his BS in Accounting and his CPA, Ed landed a position with one of the “big eight of the 1970’s”, Coopers and Lybrand, where he met Michael Actis-Grande. In 1984, the two men opened their own firm in Danbury, Actis-Grande Ronan and Company, LLC. Ed serves as the firm’s director of assurance and consulting services, and believes that “If you are a business owner you have a responsibility to help your community. It’s all part of being a good corporate citizen in your community.”
Ed and Mary are longtime Brookfield residents and have two children—Stephen and his wife, Darcy, have two children, Eddie five and Charlie two. Their daughter, Maggie, and her husband,
Sean, are expecting their first child in July.
With Our Gratitude
Ed Ronan has served as a director on the boards of a variety of not-for-profit organizations over the course of his professional career. He is currently serving as treasurer of the Regional Hospice and Palliative Care Volunteer Board of Directors and our former Regional Hospice Foundation. Ed is also a corporator of the Savings Bank of Danbury and a member of the Housatonic Industrial Development Corporation. It is our pleasure to honor Ed Ronan, Jr. with our 2017 Danbury Community Leadership Award for his commitment to Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.