LeAnn Locher: What's in a Name?

LLLeAnn Locher is the founder and President of LeAnn Locher & Associates, a Portland-based firm that provides branding, graphic design and communication services for socially responsible businesses, non profits and foundations. LeAnn graciously donated her time and talents to shepherd Death:OK through the process of determining our “brand” and shaping our public identity. Enjoy this conversation with LeAnn…

As part of the branding strategy sessions you lead us through various exercises designed to uncover what this event should be named and how we would represent ourselves graphically. The questions were a lot of fun to ponder, such as “If this event were a restaurant what would it serve?” and “If this event were a mode of transportation what would it be?” So my question to you is: if LeAnn Locher were a beverage what would she be and why?

I’d be sangria! Sangria is a mix of the unexpected: fresh fruit, wine, liquor and bubbly or citrus. It can be so many different things, and I love that often the key to the best sangria isn’t expensive wine, but the cheapest you can get. Paired with seasonal fresh fruit—think of peaches and our delicious summer stone fruit—it’s like boozy dessert in a glass. And the more you have of it, the more fun the party gets. 

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Educational, Inspirational Merchandise!


T-shirts are a soft cotton blend, in a wide variety of sizes; back reads: “It’s okay to talk about death. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to laugh. And to cry. Let’s talk about it.” The tote bag is 100% cotton with reinforced handles, 15″X16″, logo on one side.

Are you ready to tell the world that you are someone who is willing to “talk about it”? Show your support for this event and start up conversations at the same time.

Death:OK t-shirts and tote bags are available ONLY through advance, online purchase for you to pick up at the event on October 17th. Sales close midnight on Sunday, September 27th.

100% of the proceeds from these custom designed t-shirts and tote bags goes to making this very special day of inspiration, information, and connection possible. There will not be any cash sales made at the event – order now so that we can fill your custom order.

To order right now simply use the “purchase” PayPal button to the right and you will have the option of choosing your size and quantity. We can’t wait to spot folks proudly declaring “Death:OK” out in the community!

Also available, special deals from two great organizations aligned with our mission:

My Gift of Grace is an award winning conversation game for living and dying well. We’ve been granted a license to play the game with you at Death:OK (come by our Death Cafe space from 4-5:15 pm)! Retails for $24.95; available through us for $20 with 50% helping to fund Death:OK.

End-of-Life University Access Pass is a must-have for anyone wanting to learn from even more of today’s thought leaders. From the comfort of your own home, get unlimited access to high-quality recordings of dozens of speakers like Stephen Jenkinson, Ira Byock, and Eben Alexander. Includes on-line admission to the 2015 Death Expo, the 10 most popular 2014 interviews, transcripts from 2014 Death Expo keynotes, and the 2014 Death Expo Resource Book. More details here. Available to Death:OK attendees for the general public price of $60, but with 50% going to support Death:OK.

Fine print for all purchases:

  • Advance purchase only; no cash sales on day of event.
  • Sales close at midnight on Sunday, September 27th.
  • Your PayPal receipt serves as your purchase confirmation and proof of payment.
  • Your pre-purchased T-shirts, tote bags, and My Gift of Grace games will be waiting for you to pick up on-site at Death:OK on October 17.
  • Those purchasing the End-of-Life University Access Pass will receive log-in information directly from EOLU in early October.
  • Retail sales of My Gift of Grace are for personal, noncommercial use only. Organizations must obtain a license for any and all uses of the game through jethro@ourcommonpractice.com.
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Join a Death Cafe at Death:OK

RavensPDX Death Cafe is the largest in the world, according to the movement’s founder, London-based Jon Underwood. It was the incredible community interest that led us to organize this day-long event.

Death Cafes are simply a place to talk about what’s on your mind concerning death, and hear others’ thoughts and experiences.

We’re offering three discussion sessions in our Death Cafe space, located by our lunch room:

  • 1-2:15 “Death Cafe Classic”
  • 2:30-3:45 “Death Cafe Drop-In”
  • 4-5:15 “My Gift of Grace”

Sit with a small group to break the silence around the topic in our classic format (1-2:15); drop in for a shorter chat (2:30-3:45); or play the award-winning conversation game My Gift of Grace (4-5:15).

Adjacent to our Resource Area, Ancestor Altar, Threshold Choir Song Baths, and Photo Booth, our Death Cafe space provides a chance to engage in conversation, contemplation, and connect with community.

Come join the discussion – our Death Cafe hosts will look forward to greeting you!

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Closing Festivities Performers Announced!

After a full day of inspiration, information, and connection we hope you’ll join us for happy hour refreshments, mingling, and music. We are pleased to announce our talented performers for our Closing Festivities!


Closing headliners, the beloved Motherlode

Motherlode: This quartet of women create original songs filled with heartfelt lyrics. They have performed together for over 30 years, producing 8 albums. Motherlode includes Marie Eaton, Director of the Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University, avid gardener and pie-maker; Janet Peterson, music camp conductor, and sign language interpreter; Nan Collie, retired teacher, happy gardener, photographer and poet; Kathleen Fallon, maker of ceramics and jewelry, marimba band player, and retired ESL instructor.

The Game Hens Choir: Eight talented men form this a cappella men’s choir with stunning harmonies and a playful attitude. Led by Dustin Hunley, jazz musician and music teacher.

Sarah Lambert & Scott Curts, Duet: Sarah is a vocalist and the owner of Body Insights. She is a practitioner of Somatic Therapy and a rational psychic. Scot Curts, featured on keyboards, is an electronics engineer.

Heather Michet: Owner of Iris Healing Arts, Heather practices Reiki and aromatherapy and is a songstress whom some say “has the voice of an angel”.

David Olson: Our incomparable Master of Ceremonies has a long career in telecommunications and is a talented actor.

Closing Festivities take place 5:15 – 7:00 pm. Come enjoy hosted appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages (included in your day-long ticket price); beer and wine available for purchase. We look forward to closing our day with music, laughter, and community connections. Please join us in celebration!

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Getting to Know Tio Houston

Tio photoTio Houston serves as the co-chair for the Programming Committee. He brings joy, inspiration, and an eye for strategy to making this special event possible. Tio is also a clinical social worker with more than 20 years of counseling experience. He helps people resolve their difficult life challenges, transitions and losses. He promotes reclaiming our personal role in providing death care for our loved ones. He is a hospice volunteer and facilitates Death Cafes to engage people in talking about death in an easy setting.

We had the opportunity to ask Tio some questions about his role in Death:OK, life, death, and music. Continue reading

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Schedule Open for Pre-Selection

searchTaking place October 17th on the beautiful Reed College campus in southeast Portland, Death:OK offers a 10-hour day of inspiration, information & connection. We’ve now opened our incredible schedule for pre-selection to the scores of good people who bought early-bird tickets.

Scroll down for information on program pre-selection. Space at this unique event is limited and tickets are expected to sell out – we’ve already sold two-thirds of available tickets!

It’s not too late for the chance to indicate your session preferences. Everyone who purchases a ticket by August 16th will receive a link to our session preference form. (More info below.)

Our day features more than 60 sessions in four thematic areas offered in four time slots, opening remarks by Governor Barbara Roberts, a keynote by Stephen Jenkinson, an Ancestors Altar, Death Cafes, closing festivities, and more. Check out our full Schedule, read about our Presenters and our line-up of incredible workshops. See you in October! Continue reading

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Volunteer Profile with Jodie Buller

1530493_10152280210009070_1800659122_n Jodie Buller is always on the move. She spends a lot of time traversing highways and biways of the Pacific Northwest in her trusty Subaru to do her work in the world. Fortunately we were able to catch her on a rare break and have a chat.

I consider you to be a true Indie Renaissance Woman. How many professional hats do you wear?

I am currently the Cemetery Manager at White Eagle, Co-Manager of the Mount Vernon Farmers Market, a host and producer for KSVR (Community Radio for the Skagit Valley), and support staff for my father’s work with Loyalty Solutions Group, which looks at creating “All-In” Culture and collaborative work environments. I’m also drawn to event work – right now I’m gearing up for the 15th annual Subdued Stringband Jamboree, which is where I learned to love Logistics, Operations, and Volunteer Coordination.

What would you consider to be the common thread that draws you to these various projects?

I did marketing and outreach work for the Skagit Valley Food Co-op for 6 years before putting on most of these other hats, and in that role, I really valued the opportunity to spread the Good, so to speak. I spent a long portion of beginning adulthood in a state of semi-despair about all the wrongness and backwards priorities in our culture, and I find that to stave off the deep cynicism, I need to be working diligently toward reparation and remediation. Each of these threads – re-localizing food systems, re-claiming death and dying on the community level, interviewing people about their passions for independent community-based radio programming, and paradigm shift in organizational cultures – help to re-balance aspects of our reality that are off-kilter.  Continue reading

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