Who We Are
Founder and Executive Director
Dr. Megory Anderson founded the Sacred Dying Foundation in 1996. She is a theologian, educator, and author of the books Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life and Attending the Dying, as well as numerous articles and chapters on death and dying. Megory has a rich personal history in religion and theology, formerly as an Anglican monastic in New York and then as a theological and comparative religion scholar. She is well known internationally for her writings and extensive work in death and dying, especially at bedside vigil during the last hours. Megory is a vibrant presence as a speaker, celebrated for her ability to share her knowledge and skills: to connect with, educate, and train end-of-life caregivers and professionals from diverse medical, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Megory is a Research Fellow at the University of Winchester in the UK, and an Adjunct and sometimes Professor at the University of San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley. She holds a doctorate in theology of death and dying at Canterbury Christ Church, Canterbury, England.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an Anglican Archbishop and one of the world's most visible human rights activists. He was recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. He was the chairman of that country's Truth and Reconciliation Committee. He continues today to speak out on many concerns of peace and justice, as well as issues of spiritual and social importance. Archbishop Tutu is Sacred Dying Foundation’s official Patron.
DENISE ETCHART COOPER
Denise Etchart Cooper began her nonprofit career in 1989 with The Kevin Collins Foundation for Missing Children, serving first as Executive Director and later as a member of the board of directors. Denise consistently supports many nonprofit organizations, currently including Rocket Dog Rescue and Pacific Rowing Club. She has finished coursework at USF toward her Master of Nonprofit Administration and has worked with Sacred Dying Foundation since 2007.
Chris Bennett serves as coordinator of programs and training for the Sacred Dying Foundation. Chris brings more than 15 years experience in training, consulting and curriculum development to her work at Sacred Dying, and is the author of two published career books. She believes passionately in facilitating a change in our society’s approach to the end of life. Together with Mary Matthiesen, Chris developed the Sacred Dying Vigil Program training materials and process, which was piloted in 2004.
Vigil Program Development and Trainer
Amy Billa has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry and anticipatory grief support. Amy’s skills in program development, hospice philosophy and care, as well as community outreach led to her join efforts with Dr. Anderson in 2013 to create a one-day vigil training. This training is designed for churches and other organizations, and is combined with customized programmatic support. Sacred Dying Foundation contracts with organizations to send Amy to build vigil teams at a grassroots level. Amy is a licensed social worker with a master’s degree in counseling. Amy considers it an honor to help create programs to serve those at risk of dying alone.
Bhavnish Kumar is an experienced Digital Designer based in India. His experience revolves around Graphics, Illustrated arts, brochures, books, ebooks, kindles and magazines. He worked for a world-leading publishing house, Cengage Learning Australia, for the past six years, and is now providing SDF with its web, PR, and book designs.
MARC LIBARLE, ESQ.
Marc Libarle is Legal Counsel to the Foundation. His general law practice is in San Francisco. He also is a Faculty member of New York University, where he specializes in Privacy Law and Intellectual Property.
Board of Directors
Chairwoman of the the Board of Directors
Over the last 20 years, Maggie Harmon has worked with over 50 companies at various stages of growth and development. She spent 15 years practicing law, and then took that experience to business and management consulting. Since then she has focused on developing a deep understanding of people, process, and opportunity growth to provide a rich perspective in facing organizational challenges.
Maggie is an alumna of the University of California, Davis, Santa Clara University School of Law, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In addition she is a six sigma black belt and has an extensive cv in cognitive behavioral science.
CURTIS COCHRAN, Ph.D.
Curtis Cochran is President and CEO of Cochran Consulting in Orange County, CA, and has 30 years of success in broad areas of expertise including executive coaching and development; business coaching; entrepreneurship; leadership development; requirements documentation; mathematical modeling; organic and inorganic growth; mergers and acquisitions (M&A); due diligence; integration; divestiture; emotional intelligence; personal development; life coaching and mentoring; team building and leadership.
Curtis earned a B.S. in Mathematics from University of Nebraska; an M.B.A. in Accounting and Finance from University of San Diego; and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior Studies from LaSalle University.
Kevin Dieter, MD
Kevin Dieter M.D. FAAHPM is a 1985 graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), and is currently a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at NEOMED as well as serving as a Medical Director of the Hospice of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio. He is board certified in both Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and became a fellow of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Academy in 2010. He is active nationally in the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, currently serving as Chair of the Spirituality and Humanities Special Interest Group.
Kevin is excited about working with other health care professionals locally and nationally to develop innovative and effective ways to foster community dialogue around death and dying. He and his wife Jennie live in Brecksville, Ohio.
Jed Gibson has earned the reputation as an accomplished impact organizational leader with experience in sales & finance, acquisitions, profit and loss management, and strategic team building with both start-ups and growth initiatives in the construction and building industries. He is a results-oriented team leader with proven success in mortgage banking, corporate administration, and strategic partnerships. Jed's Six Sigma Black Belt training and leadership roles provide the strong foundation for his extraordinary track record of performance improvement with individuals, and profit and cultural growth in organizations.
Jed is from the Bay Area in Northern California and he spends his downtime in outdoor activities with his beautiful wife Lisa and their two Australian Shepherds, Shelby and Portia.
Catherine Hamilton, from Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada, is an integrated marketing communications professional with more than 20 years of experience, the past 8 in the hearing health care industry. Her strength is building relationships between brands and consumers. She is our liaison to the Canadian end-of-life community.
DARLEEN PRYDS, PH.D.
Darleen Pryds is trained as a historian and has a long standing interest in spiritual practices surrounding dying and death. She is Associate Professor of Spirituality and History at the Franciscan School of Theology in Oceanside, CA. She teaches a popular course entitled the Spirituality of Dying and Death at FST and has a lecture series offered by Now You Know Media with the same title, "The Spirituality of Dying and Death." In her spare time she volunteers as a hospice caregiver. She originally trained at Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco and served as a member of the volunteer training team for two years. Presently she serves at Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego County.
Lori Worthington is President of Right Angle Advisors, a consulting firm headquartered in Kansas City, MO. She leads business and product development initiatives as well as consulting operations for the firm, drawing on her 30+ years’ experience in technology, insurance, healthcare and organizational change. Lori established Right Angle Advisors in July 2013 after leaving a global consulting firm’s national employee benefits group where she had served as a leader for more than a decade. She is uniquely positioned to help organizations successfully influence and activate healthcare consumers (employees, members, patients, caregivers, communities) as well as facilitate organizational performance through change management. She received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Organizational Communication and Communication from Drury University.
President Emeritus of the Board of Directors
Tom Klein is Chairman and CEO of Rodney Strong Vineyards in Sonoma County, California, and a Trustee at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Tom served as Chairman of the board of directors of Sacred Dying Foundation for six years.
The Rev. Dr. David C. Robinson, SJ
Founding Member and Emeritus
David Robinson served as Associate Academic Dean and acting Dean of the College of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco. He was the founder and director of the college's Office of Educational Mission and Spirituality of Learning, as well as director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. He brings to the Foundation his expertise in integrative organizational planning and educational spirituality, as well as his standing in the religious and academic communities.
THE RT. REV. C. SHANNON MALLORY, M.DIV, STD, DD
Founding Member and Emeritus
Shannon Mallory is the retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real (California) and of the Anglican Diocese of Botswana (Central Africa). A bishop since the age of 35, he has an extensive history in church leadership and administration, and in numerous board memberships and task forces. His longtime interests and specializations have been in global affairs, and in multi cultural and multi religious practices. More recently, he is developing and teaching about ministry to the dying.
Known as M. Macha NightMare, P&W, Aline O'Brien is an internationally published author, ritualist and interfaith activist. Co-author with Starhawk of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, she currently serves on the Board of Cherry Hill Seminary, the first and only seminary serving the Neopagan community.
WE ARE SAD TO ANNOUNCE THAT DANIEL DIED ON SUNDAY, MAY 14th OF BRAIN CANCER. MAY HE REST IN PEACE AND MAY HIS MUSIC LIVE ON.
Music and the Arts Advisor
Daniel Brewbaker is an award winning classical composer and conductor. His Cello Concerto, "La Serenissima," is featured in Chapter 8 of the book Sacred Dying. He has held teaching positions at The Juliard School, Hunter and Queens Colleges, St Stephen's School in Rome, and the Westminster Choir College. Dr Brewbaker has lived and worked extensively abroad, and currently resides in Manhattan.
Linda Giglio has been a volunteer with hospice organizations for over fifteen years. Through her work with the dying on behalf of the Hospice of Napa Valley, Sacred Dying Foundation and Lake County Hospice, Linda has become well known in her small community as an indispensable resource who is frequently called upon when someone faces the end of life. Currently an on-line bookkeeper, Linda’s professional background includes a ten year stint as co-owner of the Catahoula Restaurant & Saloon in Calistoga, CA, law firm administrator, and dance school owner.
LYN M. FRASER, M.F.A., D. MIN.
Lyn Fraser currently serves as chaplain for the Hospice and Palliative Care Program at the V.A. Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colorado, and has also worked as a staff chaplain for Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado. She is the author of two books on the psalms: PRAYERS FROM THE DARKNESS, THE DIFFICULT PSALMS (Church Publishing) about the psalms of lament and pastoral care; and WATER FROM THE ROCK, FINDING GRACE IN TIME OF GRIEF (Paulist Press), a collection of open-ended reflections on the psalms for persons who are grieving. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the University of the South and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Bennington College.
MEGAN YIP, ESQ.
Legal and Digital Assets Advisor
Megan Yip is an estate planning attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. She started her legal career as a fellow with the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging working with Legal Aid of Marin (California) to expand legal services for low-income older adults in Marin County. Her interest is in helping Sacred Dying develop models that will help families and communities walk through practical details of death and dying. She is also a specialist in Digital Death.
MARISA NELSON, ESQ.
Estate Planning and LGBT Advisor
Marisa Nelson is the principal attorney at the Law Office of Marisa Catherine Nelson, a virtual law office. Her practice offers a personalized approach to estate planning (wills, trusts, health care directives, and powers of attorney), LGBT legal issues, and contracts drafting and review. She provides advice to the Foundation and the people it serves on the legal aspects of death and dying on an as-needed basis.
Steven Overman designs and leads global marketing and brand communications programs that align the whole organization with its brand promise. He is currently the Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President at Eastman Kodak Co. Steven is the founder of Match & Candle, a consultancy supporting startups and marketing service agencies with brand strategy development. Early in his career, Steven was a multimedia artist whose photographic and motion picture work was exhibited at leading international galleries. He also was the director's assistant for the 1993 Academy Award-winning film Philadelphia, supporting all aspects of the film's creative development and production. He is a frequent public speaker and has often lectured at the Judge Business School at Cambridge University. A business and design commentator, he has been quoted in Wired, New York Magazine, The Industry Standard, Business 2.0, and Fast Company, and he has presented at The Conference Board.
Rest in Peace
Ann Wright, LCSW
Ann Wright was an honored clinical social worker, working in the field of HIV/AIDS since the early 1980’s. She had been on staff of the Owen clinic at University of California, San Diego, a clinic that exclusively treats AIDS patients, and also provides psychotherapy and supportive services to patients who are homebound. Ann was instrumental in her work in helping the AIDS community deal with issues of the healthcare system and of death and dying. RIP. Our long time friend and advisor died on November 21, 2013. Ann was a pioneer in care for the dying, especially during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She was an extraordinary person and we will miss her presence among us. God be with you, Annie.
Steven F. Glotzbach
Science and Medicine Advisor
Steve died on March 28, 2007. We are forever grateful for his help and support. May he rest in peace.