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Celebrating the Life of Mary Woods
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM
Monday, February 6, 2023


Mary Woods’ life was celebrated with a Rosary and Vigil service at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. After the Rosary is recited, about 30 minutes into this video, you can hear comments from family and friends about Mary. A Funeral Mass was held the next morning with Archbishop John C. Wester presiding. The video was recorded and edited by Gail Rubin, who writes The Family Plot Blog.

Mary Woods Rosary

My Remembrances of Mary

Mary was a friend to many. I met her through the New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue as a guest on The Archbishop’s Hour on Catholic Radio. She was an excellent interviewer. I invited her to my home for Passover, where she charmed everyone she encountered. She became great buddies with Melanie LaBorwit, and we all celebrated our Maryland roots. Melanie and I were at Mary’s bedside the day before she shed her earthly vessel. We said the Viddui prayer, an interfaith gesture we think Mary appreciated.

And Mary was a friend to Historic Fairview Cemetery, where she volunteered to help clean up the grounds on the first Saturday of the month. She also participated in the first Cemetery Stories event held November 2, 2021. Here is her tribute to her mother, with her story, Prince Matachabelli, which is also included in the video of the Rosary service.

Mary Woods Obituary

Here is the obituary that appeared on the Riverside Funeral Home website:

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Mary on Sunday, January 23rd at University of New Mexico Hospital after a brief battle with cancer.

She was born in Munich, Germany, to U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Norman and Helen Woods. Soon after the family returned to the United States where they lived in Baltimore (Dundalk), Maryland, Stamford (Glenbrook), Connecticut, and Arlington, Virginia. She attended Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington. She graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a BA in Drama.

Mary moved “out west” in the 90s living mostly in Salida, Colorado, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico. She fell in love with the people and cultures of the area and never looked back east. Mary was an accomplished actor performing in theatre, movies, television and streaming productions. She was a member of SAG-AFTRA as well as Actors Equity Association. She appeared on stage at Arden Players, Santa Fe, Arena Stage Washington DC, Ford’s Theatre DC, National Portrait Gallery DC and many other theatres.

Mary was also a magnificent voice of audio books having recorded Talking Books for the Blind and Disabled for the Library of Congress. (1979-2000). She won the Alexander Scourby Narrator of the Year Award for Fiction in 1977.

Mary also had a prolific career in radio. She was Host and Interviewer for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (2006-2021). She hosted NPR Morning Edition at KUNM (FM) in Albuquerque, New Mexico (2005-2006), was News Director at KVRH/KBVC in Salida, Colorado (1996-2005) and News Contributor at KRCC in Colorado Springs, Colorado (2004-2005).

She is survived and greatly loved by her eldest brother, Joseph (Dorsey), many nieces and nephews, and great nieces and great nephews. It would be remiss to leave out that she is also survived by her cats, Sam and Dave, whom she loved dearly. She is predeceased by her parents and her loving brothers Peter (Mai), John (Josefina) and Maurice Patrick.

Mary was a lover of music, literature, movies, archery and poetry. She was passionate in all her activities and interactions. Everyone who knew her, and they are legions, admired her generosity, compassion, honesty, empathy, talent, cleverness and humor. She will be sorely missed and leaves a big void in many lives.

The family want to thank the doctors, nurses, technicians and the entire caring staff at University of New Mexico Hospital (Adult Oncology). Their compassion and love for Mary was evident during her entire journey with them. Words fail to express our appreciation.

A Vigil Wake, an evening of prayers, rosary and remembrances by friends, will be held at Immaculate Conception Church, 619 Copper Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM, 87102 on Wednesday, February 1st, at 6:30 PM. A Funeral Mass will take place on Thursday, February 2nd, at 10:00 AM at the same location. In lieu of flowers, donations to Catholic Charities, The Humane Society of Albuquerque, or the charity of your choice would be Mary’s wish. The family can be contacted by email at [email protected]

Thank you Mary for being you. Love you to bits.

Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®, is also a Certified Funeral Celebrant.

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival and author of a guide to holding such festivals. Her podcast is also called The Doyenne of Death®. She produces videos about the funeral business and related topics. Her YouTube Channel features more than 600 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV. Albuquerque Business First named her as one of their 2019 Women of Influence.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Gail Rubin
Group: A Good Goodbye
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM United States
Direct Phone: 505-265-7215
Cell Phone: 505-363-7514
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