Home > NewsRelease > Funeral Director Todd Harra Interviewed on First Doyenne of Death® Podcast
Funeral Director Todd Harra Interviewed on First Doyenne of Death® Podcast
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque, NM
Thursday, October 20, 2022


The Doyenne of Death podcast artThe Doyenne of Death® podcast, hosted by pioneering death educator Gail Rubin, launches on Thursday, October 20, 2022. The podcast tackles end-of-life issues with a light touch on a dark subject. The first guest is Todd Harra, funeral director and author of LAST RITES: The Evolution of the American Funeral.

LAST RITES provides a fascinating look at the history of American funeral traditions: embalming, cremation, burial vaults, funeral gifts, mourning traditions, and much more. He also explores new developments, such as natural organic reduction (a.k.a. body composting), alkaline hydrolysis (water cremation), and death discussion movements.

The conversation is divided into two programs. In this first episode, Todd discusses these topics:

  • The difference between coffins and caskets,
  • How an ancient Roman funeral rite honoring ancestors morphed into today’s tradition of photo montages at memorial services,
  • The importance of food, drink and gifts at funerals,
  • Interesting stories of embalming,
  • The evolution of military mortuary services and dog tags,
  • How the person in the Tomb of the Unknown soldier was selected in World War I, and
  • The surprising origin of pall bearers.

Todd Harra is a funeral director and embalmer with more than a decade of experience. He’s also the author or co-author of three nonfiction books about the profession: LAST RITES, Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt, and Over Our Dead Bodies: Undertakers Lift the Lid (Amazon affiliate links). He also authored the Tripp Clipper Undertaker mystery series, Grave Matters and Patient Zero. Learn more at his website: www.ToddHarra.com.

Listen to the conversation here, or through the YouTube video, or the embedded player below.

Last Rites art

The Doyenne of Death® Podcast

New episodes of The Doyenne of Death® podcast will be released every Thursday. Episodes are available on the podcast playlist on YouTube as well as wherever you get your podcasts. Upcoming shows focus on Near Death Experiences (NDEs), the physical impacts of grief, facing our own mortality, and Greek Orthodox funeral traditions. Listen to Gail Rubin’s introduction to the series and subscribe here.

Gail Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist, a Certified Funeral Celebrant, an award-winning author and speaker, creator of The Newly-Dead Game® and five-time coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Festival.  Learn more about Gail Rubin, the podcast, and her work in death education.

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
Jump To Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Jump To Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
Contact Click to Contact