Unforgettable Celebrations for Others

August 31, 2023, Hospice Patient Stories

Unforgettable Celebrations for Others

Sometimes in life, you cross paths with individuals who become a gift not only to you but to everyone fortunate enough to know them. Charlene Jennings embodied this truth in every sense. Charlene had always been known for having a gift of creating magical moments and unforgettable celebrations for others, turning ordinary occasions into extraordinary memories. It was evident that this was who Charlene was at an early age. Whether it was a birthday party, family gathering or neighborhood function, Charlene would infuse each event with her joyful spirit and unique touch. Her reputation for creating these moments continued to evolve even in her professional life.

Charlene and Hospice Aide, Cynthia Rowe
Charlene Jennings and Gilchrist Hospice Aide, Cynthia Rowe

Charlene spent over 40 years as an Activities Director at several nursing homes, and hospitals throughout the Baltimore community and the desire to bring joy to others at every event has never changed. Guests could always count on creative decorations, Charlene dressing up on theme, or her providing specific food. No matter the event– there was intention every time. For Charlene, doing all of this allows her to bring others joy and make people happy.” “You never know what someone is going through,” she said. And even though Charlene faced a new chapter of her life—receiving hospice care at Gilchrist Center Baltimore (GCB) —her radiant soul continued to shine through her ability to create moments of happiness for her hospice team, other Gilchrist patients and visitors.

Bringing the Celebration

When Charlene first arrived at GCB, she knew that regardless of her health, she was going to live every moment and bring happiness to others. It didn’t take long for her to coordinate with her sister a plan to bring Preakness to Gilchrist. Her sister, known for having so many stylish hats, agreed to bring all of her hats to the center to share with the clinical team so that they could wear them. Charlene asked the clinical teams to wear the hats and go visit other patients and wish them a “Happy Preakness.” So, they did, and the patients were excited to share in the special moment. “They told us it felt like they were at the Preakness,” said Cynthia Rowe, Gilchrist Hospice Aide. “We walked around in the hats, and it made me feel good, because the patients felt good that day. I could never forget Charlene. She doesn’t only think about herself. She thinks of everyone.”

Charlene didn’t stop at the Preakness. When the fourth of July came around, she had decorations and other fun things that the staff could wear. She took pictures of everyone and created a holiday celebratory poster so that others could relive the moment. She was already thinking about the next holiday and planning for something enjoyable. Charlene says she is grateful for the care she has received at Gilchrist and that everyone is “very nice to me here. I’ve never been to a better place.”

Charlene Jennings
April 1964- August 2023

Quick Fun Facts about Ms. Charlene:

  1. Birthday – April 16th
  2. Favorite Desert – Banana pudding
  3. Favorite Drink – Pepsi
  4. Favorite Food – Chicken and crabcakes

Gilchrist is Maryland’s leading nonprofit provider of serious illness and end-of-life care. With elder medical care, counseling and hospice, our life-affirming programs ensure that our patients have the best possible quality of life and the opportunity to live every moment to its fullest. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer please visit

One thought on “Unforgettable Celebrations for Others

  1. Judy Funk says:

    By bringing Preakness to Gilchrist and GCB specifically, Ms Charlene took us back to our roots – Jeanne Gilchrist Vance was a thoroughbred horse breeder and owner, and she founded Gilchrist. Ms Charlene was special in many ways!

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