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After 20 years as Thompson Health’s senior vice president of Senior Living Services, Sharon Pepper is retiring.


Pepper, who joined Thompson in 1991, oversaw growth throughout Senior Living Services’ continuum of care. This included the Continuing Care Center expanding from 108 beds to 188 and becoming a leader in dementia care, The Brighter Day nearly doubling the number of participants it serves and the development of Ferris Hills and Clark Meadows.


“Since Sharon Pepper first joined the Thompson Health team two decades ago, her outstanding leadership, warm-hearted compassion and commitment to excellence has advanced services for seniors and family caregivers in our community,” Thompson Health President/CEO Linda Farchione said. “Under Sharon, a skilled team of staff and administrators provides excellent care with kindness and dignity, while navigating an increasingly complex industry and a growing population with ever-changing needs. We are forever grateful to her for all that she has done.”


Pepper is a 2011 recipient of a Healthcare Achievement Award from the Rochester Business Journal and 2007 recipient of the New York Association of Homes & Services for
the Aging James W. Sanderson Memorial Award. She announced her retirement plans in early 2010 but was encouraged to defer them until the fall of this year. She will remain at Thompson as a consultant through the end of the year, to aid in the leadership transition. Pepper, a 1998 Canandaigua ATHENA Award recipient who lives in Canandaigua and is active in the community, plans to spend extra time with family and friends during her retirement.


Pepper is handing over the reins to another experienced leader in the field of elder care. Dona B. Rickard of Hammondsport will succeed Pepper effective Sept. 6.


Rickard served as administrator of Continuing Care Services and Operations for the Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital Skilled-Nursing Facility in Bath, N.Y. from 1999 through 2011.

A licensed nursing home administrator and registered professional nurse, Rickard is a nursing graduate of Monroe Community College with a bachelor’s in Health Care Administration from SUNY Empire State College. Prior to overseeing the 101-bed facility in Bath, she was the Vice President and Senior Director of Nursing and Clinical Care Services for Unity’s Edna Tina Wilson Living Center in Rochester from 1991 through 1999.


As senior vice president of Senior Living Services for Thompson, Rickard will oversee:

  • A 188-bed skilled-nursing facility, the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center
  • The health system’s medical adult day program, The Brighter Day, which serves more than 50 members of the community by providing medical supervision as well as social interaction on weekdays
  • An 84-apartment independent living community called Ferris Hills at West Lake
  • A 48-apartment enriched living community, Clark Meadows, for seniors who require additional help with day-to-day activities


“We welcome Dona to the Thompson family; she will be an asset to our Health System and Senior Living Services,” said Farchione.

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