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A Heritage of Health Care at St. Luke’s

Category: Patient Stories
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Pictured above: Autumn Ferazzi and her family members that work at St. Luke’s (from right to left) Autumn Ferazzi, Rose Ligman, Kathy Beede and Amber Beede.

You can tell what a family values by what they share through the years. Some pass down traditions and stories, while others share special heirlooms or names. For multiple generations of families in the Duluth area, they share a legacy of working at St. Luke’s.

Growing up, Autumn Ferrazzi, Pharmaceutical Buyer at St. Luke’s Inpatient Pharmacy, listened to family members talk about St. Luke’s. Her mom and aunt have both worked at the Duluth-based health care system for over 30 years and her sister has been there for nearly 14.

“I’ve always heard that St. Luke’s has a supportive, family-like culture,” she said. “That’s the main reason I wanted to work here.” Autumn has now worked at St. Luke’s herself for nine years.

And there are many other families at St. Luke’s with similar stories.

Inheriting a heart for patients

“My father was a surgeon at a few different hospitals in the area,” said Kathy Krokum, Manager of St. Luke's Hospice Duluth, “but St. Luke’s was always the place he preferred and talked about the most.”

Kathy followed her father’s example and pursued a career in the medical field. She worked as an anesthesia technician at St. Luke’s during her schooling, and once she became a nurse she couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. “It was the only place I applied,” she said. “I graduated on a Saturday and started working at St. Luke’s as an RN on the general surgery floor two days later.”

After 39 years, Kathy couldn’t be happier with her decision. She has worked in multiple departments as an RN, had opportunities for promotion and has earned her Master’s Degree to help manage St. Luke’s Hospice Duluth and St. Luke’s Homecare. The Krokum family legacy continued when Kathy’s daughter became the office coordinator at St. Luke’s Ear, Nose & Throat Associates.

While Kathy has been in the organization for four decades, Vanessa Wallace, nursing assistant at St. Luke’s, is just starting her career. Similar to Kathy, Vanessa also grew up listening to her parents talk about work. “They love being nurses and working at St. Luke’s,” she said. “Because of them, I have always wanted to work here.”

In March of 2019, Vanessa started working on 2 West, the floor that houses hospice and oncology patients staying at the hospital. Vanessa’s mom Jen Hill, RN at St. Luke’s Birthing Center for 23 years, is pleased to have her daughter at St. Luke’s. “I knew she’d be taken care of and welcomed in,” Jen said.

Vanessa plans on continuing her schooling, and she hopes to become a nurse at St. Luke’s like her parents when she graduates.

A place where you matter

Marla Halvorson, Director of St. Luke’s Human Resources, thinks stories like these are evidence of a healthy culture. “It shows you that people truly enjoy their workplace,” she said.“Everyone is treated like an individual, and people can feel that.”

One way this has played out for Autumn is through open communication and individual attention. “My supervisors are willing to take time to talk if issues come up, even if it’s something that’s going on personally,” she said. “It makes you feel like you matter.”

Danielle Larson, manager of St. Luke’s Credentialing, thinks part of St. Luke’s appeal is the atmosphere. “You walk into some places and they feel cold and corporate,” she explained. “But St. Luke’s is warm and friendly.”

While Danielle was the first in her family to work at St. Luke’s, she was not the last. When her sister was looking to relocate back home, Danielle didn’t hesitate to suggest St. Luke’s. Her sister took the advice and now works as an occupational therapist at St. Luke’s Hibbing Family Medical Clinic and Laurentian Medical Clinic.

Part of something bigger

In addition to an positive culture, St. Luke’s offers a meaningful mission. “You get to be a part of something bigger than you,” said Marla. “Helping and supporting people in your community when they need it most is really rewarding work.”

“I always tell people how much I love working here,” Danielle said. “For anyone who is looking for a job, I always tell them that they should think about St. Luke’s.”

St. Luke’s hires a broad range of other roles in addition to medical staff. “There are a lot of employment options at St. Luke’s,” Marla said. “From accounting and marketing to IT and patient registration, we have all sorts of opportunities.”

To see where you may fit in with the St. Luke’s team, visit

This article was published in the Woman Today magazine, August-September 2019 issue.