Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, helps get end-of-life and funeral planning conversations started with a light touch on a serious subject. The author of three books on end-of-life issues, she also hosts the award-winning TV/DVD series, A Good Goodbye, as well as an Internet radio program.
As an award-winning speaker, she uses humor and funny films to attract people to topics many would rather avoid: taking care of advance medical directives, estate planning and funeral planning. She also helped pioneer the Death Cafe movement in the United States by hosting the first one west of the Mississippi in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September 2012.
Her award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, provides everything you never knew you needed to know about funeral planning and brings light to a dark subject. She also co-authored Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies Templates and Tips with Susan Fraser, and wrote Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.
Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (CT), a designation awarded by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). The designation Certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement is a fancy name for a death educator. She has made behind-the-scenes visits to mortuaries and the Office of the Medical Investigator, and takes continuing education courses on funerals, death, mourning, grief, and related topics.
She is also a Certified Celebrant, a Life Tribute professional personally trained by Doug Manning and Glenda Stansbury of the In-Sight Institute, the leading U.S. organization that trains Celebrants. Gail is also a public relations professional and event planner. She has more than 30 years of experience creating many memorable life cycle events. She is an award-winning speaker with memberships in Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter.
For a different take on Gail Rubin, read her draft obituary here.
Many people are shocked to discover how expensive funerals can be. Gail became a licensed insurance agent to help people fund their “good goodbyes” by introducing them to the concept of final expense and pre-need insurance. She can also help address other financial concerns, such as long term care insurance or supplemental policies in the event of nursing home stays or the need for home medical care.
As the author of “Matchings, Hatchings and Dispatchings,” an Albuquerque Tribune column on life cycle events, she found that the columns on death elicited the greatest reader response, indicating a pressing need for information on the topic. She started The Family Plot Blog, a chipper online resource to provide the information, inspiration and tools to pre-plan a healing and meaningful funeral or memorial service.
She is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. She volunteers with the Chevra Kaddisha, a group that ritually prepares the bodies of Jews for burial, and she serves on the cemetery committee for her synagogue. She is also the 2015 president of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue of New Mexico, helping start conversations across religions.
Rubin is a breast cancer survivor who began her cancer journey in the summer of 2008. She observes, “Nothing reminds you of your own mortality more than a brush with something as serious and transforming as cancer.”
In addition to her Tribune column, articles by and about Rubin have appeared in American Funeral Director Magazine, Mortuary Management Magazine, ICCFA Magazine (trade magazine for the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association), The Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico Magazine, Albuquerque The Magazine, Enchantment, Catholic Digest, Momentum Magazine, The New Mexico Jewish Link, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Prime Time, and other publications.