Meet the Staff

Expert management can make a significant difference to a memory impaired individual, and equip a caregiver with the physical and psychological resources they need. We are grateful to our staff for all their hard work in supporting and educating families in our community.


Virginia H. Templeton, MD
Executive Director/Staff Physician

Virginia TempletonExecutive director, Virginia H. Templeton, MD, joined MemoryCare in 2002 after completing her residency at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, NC. Dr. Templeton is Board Certified in Family Medicine with Added Qualifications in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She received her BA in Medical Anthropology from Brown University and graduated from the State University of the New York School of Medicine in 1998 with a Doctor of Medicine.

She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Templeton holds an adjunct faculty appointment from UNC School of Medicine and is committed to education of professionals and others in the community about healthy aging.  Curriculum Vitae

Margaret A. Noel, MD
Founder & Director Emerita/Staff Physician

Margaret NoelFounder, Director Emerita, Margaret A. Noel, MD, FACP, established MemoryCare in June 2000. She graduated from Davidson College and UNC School of Medicine. She completed her residency and a two year fellowship in geriatrics at Wake Forest University. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine with Added Qualifications in Geriatrics. She has been involved in the education of medical residents, medical, nursing, social work, and pharmacy students interested in geriatrics.

She is actively involved in providing community education as well. She is a certified medical director with extensive prior experience in long term care settings. She holds an adjunct faculty appointment from UNC School of Medicine. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Geriatrics Society. She has served on the Board and as Secretary of the American Medical Directors Association and is a past president of the North Carolina Medical Directors Association. Curriculum Vitae

Thomas S. Kaluzynski, MD, FACP
Staff Physician, Burnsville Satellite Team Leader

Thomas KaluzynskiThomas S. Kaluzynski, MD, FACP, joined MemoryCare as a staff physician in 2006. Dr. Kaluzynski received a BS degree from Fairfield University and his MD degree from UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency with the Michigan State University Associated Hospitals in Lansing, MI and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine with Added Qualifications in Geriatrics.

Prior to joining MemoryCare, he practiced internal medicine and geriatrics in Burnsville and Spruce Pine, North Carolina since 1985. Dr. Kaluzynski served as chapter president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Physicians in 2003 and is a trained facilitator with the ACP’s Practicing Physician Education Program. He holds appointment as clinical assistant professor at the UNC Chapel Hill.   Curriculum Vitae  

Lisa Verges, MD
Staff Physician, Haywood County Satellite Team Leader

Lisa Verges, MD, joined MemoryCare in July 2012 as staff physician and is a board-certified Geriatric Psychiatrist.  Dr. Verges attended Louisiana State University for her undergraduate degree and earned her medical degree from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans.  Her psychiatric training was in Dallas, Texas at Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital with her subspecialty training in Geriatric Psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and has been in private practice in Western North Carolina for almost 20 years.  Dr. Verges is team leader of MemoryCare’s satellite clinic in Haywood County and works in the Asheville office as well. She has a longstanding interest in the spiritual aspects of aging.  Curriculum Vitae

Margaret A. Word-Sims, MD
Staff Physician, Home Visit Program Provider

Margaret Word-SimsMargaret A. Word-Sims, MD, joined MemoryCare in September 2012 as staff physician providing home care services.  Dr. Word-Sims received her BS degree from Duke University and her MD degree from Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1984.  She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where she served as chief resident.  She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine.

Prior to joining MemoryCare, Dr. Word-Sims practiced internal medicine in Madison County, NC with a focus on geriatric patients.  She served as Assistant Professor and Director of Ambulatory Education at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine where she was chosen “Best Teacher” by the medical students and internal medicine residents in the program.  She has also provided care as a Clinical Instructor for the University of North Carolina at Wake Medical Center.  She has professional interest in neurology and geriatrics and appreciates the opportunity to support patients and families.  Curriculum Vitae

C. David Johnson, MD
Staff Physician

DSC011501Staff Physician, C. David Johnson, MD joined MemoryCare in 2016 and is board certified in geriatric medicine and hospice/palliative care. Dr. Johnson graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with his BA degree and Doctor of Medicine. He completed a residency program in internal medicine at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, and a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Prior to joining MemoryCare, Dr. Johnson worked in a number of clinical settings including: primary care office practice, nursing home, and the PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly) program. He has also provided hospice and geriatric outpatient consultation. He enjoys teaching physicians and other health care professionals about geriatric medicine and palliative care. Curriculum Vitae


Lauren Hedden, BSW
Social Work Care Manager, Asheville clinic

Lauren EdwardsLauren Hedden, BSW joined the MemoryCare staff in December 2009 as a Social Work CareManager. She graduated from Mars Hill College’s Adult ACCESS program in May 2008 with a BS in Social Work.

During her time at Mars Hill College, she completed an internship at the WNC Alzheimer’s Association and Mountain Area Residential Facilities, Inc.

She has worked in various settings including animal hospitals, group homes for adults with developmental disabilities, and long term care.

Mary Nelon, RN, BSN
Nurse Care Manager, Asheville and Burnsville clinics

Mary NelonMary Nelon, RN joined MemoryCare as Nurse Care Manager in May 2014.  She received her BS degree in Nursing from Berea College, Kentucky and has cared for clients from prenatal to geriatric.  She has worked in a variety of setting such as high risk home health, community clinics, cardiac cath labs, hospitals, undergraduate school and cardiovascular research and has expertise with Performance Improvement, Joint Commission accreditation, Risk Management and all aspects of Medical Staff Services.

Mary enjoys the Arts, travel and the great outdoors.  She is active in our community as a member of the Lions Club and as a Health & Safety instructor with the American Red Cross.  She runs a monthly Community Wellness Clinic and volunteers with ABCCM Medical Ministry. Mary is excited to find a place where she can use her many skills and for the opportunity to work with such dedicated families.

Carly Woods, BSW
Social Work Care Manager, Asheville and Haywood County clinics

Carly WoodsCarly Woods, BSW, joined the MemoryCare staff in May 2015 as a Social Work Care Manager. She graduated from the Social Work program at Mars Hill College in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work.

During her time at Mars Hill, she completed an internship at The Autism Society of western North Carolina and the Progressive Education Program. She also became an interim school social worker for Buncombe County schools during her senior internship. She has worked in medical billing offices and at Mission Hospital, and volunteered at group homes for adults with developmental disabilities and long term care facilities. She has a passion for caring for older adults and their families.

Lindsey Kremer, BSW
Social Work Care Manager, Asheville Clinic

001Lindsey Kremer, BSW joined MemoryCare in October 2016 as a Social Work Care Manager. She graduated from Western Carolina University in May of 2014 with her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. During her time at Western Carolina she completed an internship at Mission Hospital on the St. Joseph campus. She is passionate about caring for and serving others.


Administrative Staff

Ann Hendrix
Office Administrator

Ann HendrixAnn joined the MemoryCare staff in June 2005 as the Office Administrator.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Averett College in Danville, Virginia.  A former teacher, she later pursued a career in customer service/bookkeeping and office management.

Ann enjoys multitasking at MemoryCare including accounts payable/receivable, payroll, insurance billing, and general office management.  She works closely with the Director to ensure an exceptional working environment.

Suzann Coker
Program Assistant/Scheduler

Suzann CokerSuzann Coker is the Program Assistant/ Scheduler, joining the MemoryCare staff in September 2007. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Marketing and Management at the University of South Carolina.

She has worked in both the public and private sector of accounting, retail sales, customer service and computer training.

Ashton Ryals
Program Assistant

Ashton Ryals joined MemoryCare in 2017 as Program Assistant. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL with her BA degree in Psychology and minors in Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies. During her time in college, Ashton volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.  She also worked with a Mosquito Education Program in which she taught Kindergarteners in their classroom.  Ashton has experience in health information management and cares deeply about people.  She enjoys welcoming families and visitors to MemoryCare and is glad to be a part of the MemoryCare team.


Anne Gardner
Data Coordinator

Anne GardnerAnne Gardner joined MemoryCare in July of 2012 as an Administrative Assistant primarily providing support for the MemoryCare care managers.  She graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC in 1998 with a BA in English and a Bachelor of Music Degree  in Piano Performance.

Anne’s work experience covers a wide range of settings from hospitals to computer software to retirement communities and more.  She enjoys helping others.  A native of Asheville, Anne is an animal lover, and enjoys living in the natural beauty of the mountains.

MemoryCaregivers Network Staff

Mary Donnelly
Network Coordinator/Group Facilitator

Mary Donnelly

Mary Donnelly has been a part of MemoryCare since 2003 – first as a caregiver when her mother became a patient, then as a Board member, then as Board President, and ultimately as coordinator of the MemoryCaregivers Network.   Mary was a founding member of the Network, a resource for caregiver education and support, which was started in 2007 by a group of dedicated caregivers.  Currently, Mary co-facilitates several area peer support groups, edits an online bi-monthly newsletter, Caregiver Network News, and is a frequent speaker on dementia issues.  Mary is a certified PAC Trainer with Teepa Snow, a well-known national dementia expert, and is certified as a Validation Practitioner.

Mary lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband Tom, and their Corgi/Sheltie, Sammy.  She can often be found hiking in her beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.

To contact Mary about the MemoryCaregivers Network, please email her at

Pat Hilgendorf
Group Facilitator

Pat HilgendorfPat Hilgendorf graduated from Spring Arbor University in Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management of Health Services.  Pat’s background includes work in Retirement Planning, Elder Care Resource & Referral  and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Pat came to MemoryCare as a volunteer in 2008.  She is now a co-facilitator with the MemoryCaregivers Network.

Geriatric Caregiver Consultant

Pamela Lessig, MA, MBA, LPC
Caregiver Consultant

Pam LessigPam Lessig, MA, MBA, LPC, is a Geriatric Caregiver Consultant for families in need of resource guidance related to caregiving for someone with dementia. She also worked for MemoryCare as a Social Work Care Manager from 2009-2011 and in 2015, bringing a wealth of knowledge and compassion to the position. Pam holds an MBA from the University of Miami and an MA in counseling from Colorado Christian University. She began as a children’s therapist at an Emergency Shelter/Long-Term Foster Care placement before going into private practice where she gained experience across the generations.  Pam has counselled families and individuals with a variety of life issues including aging, dementia, caregiving, depression, and loss. She has also taught parts of MemoryCare’s Caregiver Education Program (“Caregiver College”).  Pam is a welcome member of the MemoryCare team!

To learn more please click the following link to our Caregiver Consult Program flier.