Throughout decades of service, we have been fortunate to know a far-reaching group of friends, family, and loved ones. Unfortunately, as time goes on, that means we have to come to terms with the pain of losing them, too. This page is a way to commemorate those who made a lasting impact and filled the unlimited pages of our story—through years of leadership, support, or simply brightening the days with a smile.
October 22, 1963 — January 15, 2021
Denise Harper, who was a longtime resident at Life Unlimited, passed away the morning of Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. When she was younger, Denise participated in track and field events in the Special Olympics. She was always sweet, and her Grandpa Harper affectionately called her “Queenie.”
Denise loved horror movies, Halloween, and her cat. She was an avid bowler and bowled every week for years. Denise enjoyed listening to music, and some of her favorites included Kenny Rogers, Elvis, and Michael Jackson. She worked at VSI for 30 years and retired in 2014.
Denise was a part of the Life Unlimited family for more than 25 years. We are all grieving this loss together and will miss her dearly.
March 4, 1951 — November 11, 2020
John Hardman received care through Life Unlimited for many years. His friends referred to him as a gentle giant and said he loved to tease and joke with those he knew. He loved the color green, including in the form of Jell-O and Mountain Dew. He earned the nickname “penny man” because he liked collecting change and was known to check the coin return on soda machines and pay phones.
John worked at VSI Packaging for 48 years and was well respected and loved. He will be deeply missed.
July 26, 1952 — June 14, 2020
Gayle Bennett-Grant was a longtime, dedicated employee of Concerned Care before it merged with other organizations to form Life Unlimited. She will be dearly missed. Barbara Griggs, former Executive Director of Concerned Care, worked directly with Gayle and shared these wonderful sentiments in her honor:
“40 years ago, I hired an energetic young woman to be a live-in for our newly expanded Apartment Living Program in the Northgate Village apartments in North Kansas City. She was so upbeat and positive that she had earned the nickname ‘Sunshine’ at her previous workplace. I hoped she’d stick around a couple of years as we had awful turnover.
Well, she stuck around for 38 years and only left after I did. Gayle was an amazing co-worker, lieutenant, and supervisor. She was scrupulous and conscientious. She advocated for our individuals, as well as for any underdog, mistreated, sidelined or otherwise disrespected individual—that includes animals as well. She was a stickler for details, and those who reported to her, as well as those who worked by her side, all stood to attention if we carelessly earned ‘the look’ from Gayle. She mentored and nurtured countless staff from aides to teaching counselors, teaching counselors to supervisors, and supervisors to program managers. She always had time for one of the individuals who might stop by.
There was no one who embodied the ideals and principles Concerned Care stood for more than Gayle Bennett-Grant. There could be no better team member—she WAS the team. Together we tackled tasks we never thought we could manage. She came in early, worked late, and never shirked. Gayle literally gave the best years of her life to the cause of individuals with disabilities. Never faltered, never looked back.
Whenever you stand up for anyone who needs an ally, a kind word, or a helping hand, I urge you to do it in memory and in honor of Gayle Bennett-Grant.”
December 4, 1959 — June 6, 2020
Vicki Rotolo, or “Tolo” as we lovingly knew her, was someone you could meet once and would have an impact on you forever.
“If you knew her, she had your heart,” Life Unlimited CEO Julie Edlund said. “She always made us smile and laugh.”
Tolo was one of the original five women at Immacolata Manor in Liberty, Mo., and came into our care in June 1983. Her family described her as having an impish grin and a laugh that was unmistakable. She made lasting impressions on everyone she met, was a little ornery, and she loved her jewelry, headbands, coffee, and Cokes. She was stylish and enjoyed picking out her own fantastic and memorable outfits each day. Tolo loved kisses and showered them freely.
We are honored to have known and loved Tolo for 37 years. Her family has offered heartfelt support of our organization over the years, including helping organize the annual Christmas party for individuals we serve and their families. The moments we have shared with them and with Tolo will hold a special place in our hearts—always.
“She made an impact on all of us and was extremely loved,” Julie said. “We are saddened today but happy to have been part of her life for so many years.”
February 14, 1953 — May 25, 2020
Strong leadership comes in many forms—from thoughtful decision making to a keen understanding staff needs to analyzing numbers to find efficiencies. Throughout more than 15 years of dedicated service on the Immacolata Manor and Life Unlimited Board of Directors, Dan Jurgensen proved he could do all that and more.
In addition to a love of sailing and woodworking, Dan had a penchant for numbers. He served as Treasurer for most of his tenure on the Life Unlimited Board, and Chief Analytics and Projects Officer Paul Twenter said his background as a financial advisor for Edward Jones provided a perspective that was continually tapped by other board members and management.
“Dan had a focus on our largest expenses: Labor costs,” Paul said. “His constant encouragement for management to explore avenues to ‘right-size’ Life Unlimited’s labor costs will stick in the minds of the organization’s leadership for a long time to come.”
Dan helped lead us through our mergers and was inspirational in our organization’s financial transformation. We will remember him being an active participant in many Life Unlimited employee events and always having encouraging words for everyone. We thank Dan for his service to individuals with disabilities and offer our condolences and support to his family.