Meet Some of Mercy's Long-time Employees - Mercy Medical Center

Meet Some of Mercy’s Long-time Employees

Posted on: May 5, 2016

We have many long-time members of our “Mercy family,” and during National Hospital Week 2016, we’re celebrating all our staff members, as well as highlighting those who were willing to share their story.

National Hospital Week 2016 Mercy Medical Center, Canton Ohio


Joan Runion, medical technologist, has worked in the laboratory since starting her career at Mercy. She began working the afternoon shift and has worked in Microbiology, Serology, Immunology and Virology labs, where she served as a senior tech and supervisor. She is currently on the lab Meditech core team. Runion has seen many changes over the years including the transition to computerization of not only the lab but health care in general. She has been married to her husband Ken since 1997 and has one step son and one step daughter. Her hobbies include Spinning, weaving, knitting, gardening, walking and reading.

Jackie Pearlman, RN, Mercy Surgery Center, previously worked as a manager and staff nurse in the OR, and was also a manager in CSP. Jackie and her husband Dean have a son who works for Dell computers in Austin Texas, and a daughter who works at Case Western University. Her hobbies include antiquing and reading.

Allison Kemp has worked in the clinical lab/chemistry lab since beginning her career at Mercy 40 years ago. She serves on the Lab Safety Committee. During her time at the hospital, she has witnessed the MOB, parking deck, ICU and the Surgery Center being built. Kemp has one daughter who is an RN and currently working at Texas Children’s in Houston. She is an avid reader – real books only – and loves working in her yard during the Spring, Summer and Fall. Kemp enjoys traveling, and has been to Europe three times. Kemp and her daughter spent a week in Italy in September last year. She has been to Jamaica, Canada and two of the Canadian Maritime Provinces, along with various areas of the U.S.

Denise L. Shafer currently works in Central Sterile Supply (CSS) where she sets up cases for the operating room. Since beginning her career at Mercy, she has worked in Laundry, Laundry Pack Room. Shafer has two daughters, ages 29 and 31, and four grandchildren, ranging in age from 2–6 years old. Her hobbies include crocheting, embroidery, working in her yard and having her family visit.



Lauren Dunnerstick is a medical assistant in PEAT (Same Day Surgery). She began working at Mercy in 1980 on the old 6 Main. Dunnerstick is widowed and has four children and two grandchildren. Her favorite hobbies are gardening and reading, and she loves to travel. Dunnerstick says the people she has worked with for all these years are now like her family.

Rita Pickens, BSN, RN, COHN, began working at Mercy as float staff. She later moved to Mercy Coronary Care Unit, Ambulatory Care Unit, Cardiac Cath Lab, and Work Health & Safety Services, where she continues to work today. Pickens is an active member in the Stark County Occupational Health Nurses Association, a current BLS instructor and a National Safety Council instructor. She also volunteers at the Healing and Wellness Clinic in Canton and is an adjunct clinical instructor at Malone University and Stark State College for nursing students. She is a Parish Health Nurse (Faith Community Nursing), and a Mercy School of Nursing Alumni (class of 1981). Pickens and her husband John have five sons: Tony, Greg, Scott, Paul and Sam, and six grandchildren. Her hobbies are cooking, baking, crocheting, and going to auctions, reading and spending time with her grandchildren.

Since working at Mercy, she received her BSN (at the age of 45). Pickens has seen a lot of changes over the years but the one constant is the compassion and dedication employees show while caring for God’s people. In 1985, Pickens gave birth to premature twins. Gregory weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces, and Daniel weighed 1 pound, 6 ounces. Daniel became one of God’s angels the next day. Greg will soon be 31, works as a diesel mechanic, and is a great dad! “At the difficult times in my life, my Mercy family gave me unconditional love, prayers and support,” Pickens said. “My faith was deepened as God led me through this experience. Over the years working inside the hospital and in the community, I have tried to take care of those God has put in my path, not just physically and mentally; but, spiritually as well. Next to my family, being a nurse at Mercy has been the best!”

Jill M. Ungashick, RN, currently works on the Medical and Surgical Unit, 4 Main. She has also worked on 6 Main (old 2 Main). Ungashick has served on many committees including the Nurse Practice Council, Policy and Procedures, Product Evaluation, Unit Educator, and the Orthopedic Center of Excellence.

Wendy Fernandez is a Unit Assistant who has worked in Mercy Maternity Services and is currently working in the EP Lab/Cath Lab. She has been involved with the Green Belt Six Sigma Program and Mercy PALS. Fernandez has two adult sons and also has two granddaughters – ages 12 and 9. She loves to read, work in her flower garden and to refurbish old furniture.

Karon Mottice is currently an RN in Mercy CCU. She has also worked in ICU. Mottice has served on Nursing Congress, Cardiovascular Infection Control Committee, and Cardiovascular Nurse Practice Council. She has two sons, three grandsons and one granddaughter. Three of them live in Tennessee, and she loves any time she can spend with them. Mottice is originally from Columbus, Ohio, but moved to this area 40 years ago. She enjoys reading, enjoying the outdoors, camping with her family, taking cruises and traveling to distant places. She can’t wait for the weather to change so she can ride her new bike. “Tow Path here I come,” Mottice says. She likes to take trips with her 5-year-old grandson.

Mottice came to Mercy many years ago and was only going to stay one year. She never looked elsewhere. She has enjoyed the Christian atmosphere and opportunities that have been made available to her. “The team culture that is present in the coronary care unit makes it a great place to work,” she says.

Minnie Sue Waidman, secretary in Mercy Radiology, has previously worked in the Mercy School of Nursing library and the hospital Medical Library. She has participated in Mercy Children’s Camps, Mercy PALS, Mercy Children’s Health Run, National Day of Prayer, and is an apheresis and blood donor. She is involved with the Canton and Massillon community theaters’ as an actress and front and back stage volunteer. Waidman has participated in three Mercy videos and has been featured in a Mercy brochure. She has two sisters, one brother, 10 nieces and six nephews. She says, they are “my inspiration, love of life, and reason for living.” She loves spending time with her nieces, nephews, and friends. She likes to listen to music, watch old movies, horror movies, and I Love Lucy re-runs. Waidman also enjoys walking the State Park Trails.

Laura Snode, R.N., Mercy Same Day Surgery, has previously worked on 6 Main, and 2C. She has served as a unit educator on SDS /PEAT, and been a SDS/PEAT Pl Committee and Patient Satisfaction committee member. Snode received the clinical excellence award and Cameo of Caring Award in 2008. She and her husband Rick have three daughters – Emily, Bethany, and Mary. Her hobbies are crafting, reading, golf, and traveling to visit her daughters. While working at Mercy, Snode says, “One constant is that I have worked with many amazing, caring, compassionate people over the years and have learned from them all.”

Pam Kramer works in Financial Management as a Revenue Analyst. Over the years, she has worked in Human Resources, Business Office, and Information Services. She has been involved in various committees currently and throughout her many years at Mercy. Pam and her husband Lee have been married for 20 years and between them have 4 daughters, 1 son and 6 grandsons. She loves to spend time with all of her family especially her grandsons and children who are her pride and joy. She takes daily walks with her dogs through the many paths they have created in their woods enjoying nature and she loves to swim in the summer. Pam met her husband Lee Kramer while they were both working here.

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