Barbara Roberts, the first female Governor of Oregon, will present opening remarks at Death:OK. The author of Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology, Roberts says, “What we talk about, we can make better.” Roberts’ remarks will precede a keynote address by Stephen Jenkinson.
A recent Op Ed in the New York Times notes the pioneering role Barbara and her husband Frank Roberts, also a revered Oregon lawmaker, played in Oregon’s Death with Dignity law.
“There’s an art to living,” Barbara says, “and an art to dying.” Since Frank’s death, she has spoken to a wide range of audiences about death and grieving and served in leadership with the Oregon Hospice Association and Compassion in Dying. Her book Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology, headed into reprint, includes chapters titled “A Culture in Denial” and “Permission to be Weird”.
Written for both the individual facing death and for those who must grieve after a death, Roberts offers readers enthusiastic support to abandon the silence that too often accompanies impending death and those who must grieve.
A descendant of Oregon Trail pioneers, Barbara Roberts was elected the first woman Governor of Oregon in 1990. She began her lifetime of activism and public service fighting for the educational rights of her autistic son. This led to ten years as a school board member, and election to the Oregon House of Representatives where she served as the first female House Majority Leader. She became the first Democrat elected Secretary of State in 100 years, an office she held for two terms before becoming Governor.
Governor Roberts’ many achievements in elected office and since then are detailed in her profile for Portland’s Walk of The Heroines.