“Unfinished Business,” an article by Diane Bosser in the Fall 2016 issue of Insights Magazine, the publication for Montgomery College alumni and friends, focuses on Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®.
A pioneering death educator, Rubin graduated from Montgomery College in 1978 with an AA degree in Radio, Television and Film. She puts her degree to work by using funny film clips to supplement the humorous presentations she makes on end-of-life issues: doing pre-need funeral planning, making advance medical directives, wills and trusts, and downsizing and organizing before death.
The article, which includes the sidebar column, 5 Tips on What You Need to Know to Save Money, Time, and Sanity, covers four pages of the magazine. From the article:
During her time as the Doyenne* of Death®, a certified thanatologist (death educator), and funeral celebrant, Rubin has helped hundreds make final exit plans.
“It’s not morbid. It’s a consumer issue,” says Rubin. “A funeral is one of the top five event expenses a family will incur, similar on scale to weddings and bar mitzvahs—but it remains the party no one wants to plan.”
Without directives or experience, surviving family members are often faced with making decisions in an area they know little about. They contact the local funeral home and the newspaper, but they have no idea what anything is going to cost. Some may guess about what the deceased would have wanted, or worse yet, may overspend out of guilt. Some refuse services based on costs. Like any life event with a significant financial impact, getting price quotes and shopping around can pay off—in savings and peace of mind.
“It’s so much easier to talk about finances, insurance, and disposal of body options when death seems far away and you can still laugh about it,” says Rubin.
* A doyenne is an older woman who has experience in or knowledge about a particular area.
More About the Doyenne of Death
A 1978 graduate of MC (radio, TV, and film), Rubin worked as a TV producer with C-SPAN on Capitol Hill, booking guests for the network’s call-in program. In 1985, she transitioned into public relations and moved to New Mexico in 1990. She has written a total of four books (two award-winning), hosted a TV series on the local public access channel (Albuquerque), and was a TEDxABQ speaker on end-of-life planning.
She created the Newly-Dead Game® (2011), based on elements of the Newlywed Game TV show, which tests couples’ knowledge of their partner’s last wishes. Currently, she hosts a podcast on FuneralRadio.com, and conducts numerous seminars and speaking engagements.
She has lived in Albuquerque for 26 years. She is also a breast cancer survivor.