Death Cafe Founder Lived Life to the Fullest

Jun 29, 2017 | 0 comments

The world of those who start positive conversations about mortality issues was shaken this week with news of the death of Jon Underwood, 44, founder of the international Death Cafe movement. The objective of the Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.” 

When announcing the news at the website, his wife Donna Molloy wrote, “Through his work helping people come to terms with the idea of death, Jon was uniquely and unusually aware that life is short and appreciated his life fully….” Read more here.

We will think fondly of Jon at the next Albuquerque Death Cafe, to be held on Saturday, July 15 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at my home. More information here.

Before I DieAnnouncing the inaugural “Before I Die” Albuquerque festival, a series of events being held October 20-24, 2017. “Before I Die” festivals are part of a growing social movement to foster reflection about how we as individuals and as a society manage death and dying. By providing space and opportunities to openly discuss end-of-life issues, we can improve the percentage of those who plan ahead and take actions to address our mortality. More information here.

“Before I Die” Albuquerque festival sponsors include French Funerals & Cremations, Albuquerque’s largest and oldest family-owned funeral service company, and Zia Trust, Inc., The Advisors’ Trust Company®.

Links to recent posts at The Family Plot Blog, other upcoming events and an interesting quote follow. Please call 505.265.7215 if I can be of assistance!

Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®

The Family Plot Blog Highlights

Click on the titles to read the blog post and see the associated videos. Review all posts on The Family Plot Blog or view just the Death Cartoons posted on the blog!

Newsflash: Funeral Planning Not a Priority for Americans — For the fifth consecutive Caskets with price tagsyear, the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) annual Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study indicates that consumers acknowledge the importance of preplanning their own funeral, but fail to do so in practice. It’s even worse than I thought.

Funeral Directors: What Are Your Biggest Changes and Challenges? — A lot has changed in seven years since A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die was published.

Home Funerals Explained on Redfin Real Estate Site — You don’t expect to find an article about home funerals on a real estate website. But, homes are where you would hold a home funeral, and the real estate website Redfin recently posted a story about how to plan a home memorial service.

SouthWest Writers Interview with Gail Rubin — The respected writers organization SouthWest Writers recently posted an interview with Gail Rubin about her latest book, KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Upcoming Events and a Quote

See the Calendar page for a full listing of events.

Jewish headstonesWednesday, July 12, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. — “Jewish Funeral Traditions on Film” presented through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. This talk illuminates the differences and similarities of Christian and Jewish funeral traditions – highly beneficial for interfaith families. Register for class 81396, $20 at Osher’s website.

Wednesday, July 19, noon to 1:00 p.m. — “Kicking the Bucket List: Downsizing Things to Do Before You Die” presented at Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity’s administrative offices next to the ReStore, 4900 Menaul Blvd. NE. Free, register at the Events & Classes page at

Friday, July 21, noon to 1:00 p.m. — “A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die” presented at Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity’s administrative offices next to the ReStore, 4900 Menaul Blvd. NE. Free, register at the Events & Classes page at

Friday, July 28, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class “Laughing and Learning” will give you the tools and the inspiration to take practical steps for planning a “good goodbye.” Register for class 81387, $20 at Osher’s website.

Wednesday, August 16, 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. — New Mexico Conference on Aging presentation, “Downsize and Organize for a Better Life (and Death).” You don’t have to be old or dying to downsize. When living in the same place for decades, stuff accumulates. Attachment to objects which no longer serve us become energy-draining clutter. Learn how to let go, pare down, and prepare your vital end-of-life information. You’ll feel lighter, energized and liberated!

“All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.” — William Shakespeare, Hamlet

A Good Goodbye