Virtual Writing Workshop Community Introductions


My first career was a professor for 30 years teaching business management at Central College in Pella, Iowa– a small liberal arts college. I moved on to be a leadership development and change management consultant with The Genysys Group. I am also certified as a Sage-ing Leader through Sage-ing International. My interest in ethical wills has to do with sage-ing work although I weave legacy work into leadership development. I had a book published in August by ASTD titled: Leading with Wisdom: Sage Advice from 100 Experts. The book weaves together leading and sage-ing.     www.JannFreed


I turned sixty-four on February 13, 2013. Here’s what’s been going on for me. I retired from teaching about ten years ago. I have been married for over forty years and have two grandsons, Tanner 15, and Conner 13. I enjoy traveling and since I retired I have been to Belize twice, taken a cruise in the Caribbean, seen the Sand Hill Crane migration in Nebraska, and gone to Mexico for a week of language instruction while my wife was at a Yoga retreat. Four years ago I took my grandson Tanner on a cruise to Mexico. In 2011 Mary and I cruised through the Panama Canal and Conner and I went on a cruise. We are leaving on December 11 for another cruise. This one on Windstar Cruise Lines sailing from St Maarten. I play tennis whenever I get the chance.  I took an ethical will class from Barry a few years ago.


57 and a clear cell renal cell carcinoma survivor, is located in central Florida. She learned about ethical wills from the author of Eavesdropping: As Real Women Talk About the Gifts and Challenges of Aging, Kendra T. Brown, Ph.D. The concept of an ethical will is discussed and recommended. After losing her mother in October, Betsy decided to include an ethical will as part of her estate planning efforts, so she signed up for this course. She believes it will offer her an opportunity to “speak” to her now-toddler grandchildren about the individuals in her family and her family’s values.


I am an 87 year old widow living alone and taking care of myself. I have three sons and one daughter, four grandsons and five grandaughters, eight great-grandchildren with two more due soon. Members of my family live in various parts of the country, however I can keep in touch with each one of them in some way.
I grew up on a farm and married a farmer. We lived on the farm for thirty-five years, then built a home in our small town where I still live. I am involved in Senior Citizens Center, American Legion Auxiliary, my church and card clubs.
After retiring my husband and I traveled, having been to many of the states in the U.S., countries in Europe and Asia more than once. I have such fond memories of the good life God has given me and I want to put my gratitude for that into words on paper as permanent keepsakes for my family.
Following high school I attended a business college where I took an English education class from a wonderful teacher. I became interested in writing and have continued that interest throughout my life. I wrote as a guest columnist for our local weekly newspaper for many years and I have a few stories published on the internet. I guess that is why I want to write an Ethical Will. I want to leave my feelings, values and the blessings in my life for my descendants to share.


I am the webmaster for Association of Personal Historians (APH). My background is mostly technical. I am not a writer but I did create a book for my son last year to celebrate his first 40 years. I have long held the view that writing in the same manner that you think and speak is writing from the heart – and that it works just fine. I am not an editor/writer and would never try to edit the words of others to make them tell a better story but I am comfortable with what I write for my own personal use, brief as it is.
I actually took one of Barry’s courses on Ethical Wills a few years ago, in person. It was a weekend course which I found inspiring – but I did not follow up on what I had learned. When I saw Barry post this series, I signed up without hesitation.
To some degree I was pushed into taking the weekend course by my husband and partner, who wanted to add legacy wills to our portfolio for clients. At that time, I was more interested in learning about ethical wills for myself than I was about providing services for clients.

Now, I am giving myself a second chance to get my own ethical will in place and get a better understanding of the whole process so I am more comfortable talking to others and giving them tips about writing their own ethical will.


I am a Family Physician and have been involved in hospice and end-of-life care for the past 20 years. My interest in Ethical Wills/Legacy Letters arose from my hospice work…seeing the impact of ethical wills on patients and families (and hospice staff and volunteers). I joined Tracie Bluse Ward at Celebrations of Life in 2008, shortly after the company was started. Our mission is to provide a meaningful Legacy Journey® experience to help individuals and families live their lives with intention and share their values, wisdom and generosity with loved ones and future generations.
I am very excited to work with all of you on this ‘virtual writing workshop’ pilot program.


I am 76 & have 6 sons, 5 of whom are married so I have 5 daughters for which I’m most grateful. I also have 13 grandchildren ranging in age from 21 to 4 years old. I’ve been jotting down memories as they come to me for a few years now but very little organization or planning.


I am 72 years old, married to my husband Martin for 44 years, with four children – daughters 42, 39, 33 and a son 31, one ten year old granddaughter, one grandson 5 and three grandsons age 1. I am totally retired spending time with my husband and grandchildren. We love to travel. When I am not with my grandchildren, I follow a disciplined exercise program and keep myself busy with volunteer activities, mainly at our synagogue. For example, this year I chaired an 80 person oral history project for the centennial anniversary and coordinated a program on “Conversations at the End Of Life”.

In the sixties, I started working in DC for the Federal government with jobs in the Civil Service Commission, National Institutes of Health and the Johnson White House. In the seventies, we moved to Cleveland where I attended law school and practiced Health Care and Administrative Law. In the eighties, we moved to Massachusetts where I worked as an attorney for nursing homes and taught Health Law and Medical Ethics as adjunct facility in a law school and local colleges. In the nineties, I started doing oral histories for residents of nursing homes and published a book “Memories of Zionism”- recollections of community members being involved in Zionism. I also started doing Ethical Wills workshops at synagogues and community organizations after the Reimer book on Ethical Wills was published – but haven’t done them for years. My first ethical will was written when my children were very young on an Apple II GS with a floppy disc that is long lost. Now that they are mature adults and living many of the values that I had hoped for them 20 years ago, I need to write a new statement.


I’m a retired Nurse Practitioner, having worked in Family Practice and specializing in women’s health for more than 30 years. Along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to be present at the end of life with many people. It was an ongoing gift to learn from them and to take to heart the importance of living life with meaning and appreciation every day.
I’ve now reinvented myself as a life coach and hypnotherapist, working with people in transition. I also volunteer for a children’s bereavement program in a number of capacities, including spending a week every summer as the medical support for the kids at camp. It gives me great personal satisfaction to give to these grieving kids the support and understanding I so desperately needed myself as a child when my little sister died.

I participated in an intensive Women’s Legacy Writing workshop with Rachel Freed several years ago. I also attended a Sage-ing Leader training several years ago and now occasionally present workshops on Conscious Age-ing in my community. I’m participating in this virtual workshop to learn more about how to help others through the process, as well as to devote the time to reflecting on my own legacy.
I spend a significant amount of time being a grandmother to my daughter’s two children. I try to be for them the living example of the values I hold dear. Someday they’ll read my ethical will and hopefully have the recognition that I indeed lived my life true to those values.


I’m 64 years old (and, yes, am in the throes of signing up for Medicare… ) and in a major and elongated transition in my life. In recent years, I have lost several people close to me, including my husband, brother, and mother. When my husband became ill, I told clients I would not be available for the foreseeable future, assuming I would go back to work at some point. I discovered that my interest in work didn’t return, so 4 years and a move to a new state (North Idaho) later, I am declaring myself retired. My work has been varied, but mostly I think of it as change work, at the individual, system, and community levels. It involved organization development, mediation, community organizing, and substance abuse/violence prevention, among other things.
I first heard of legacy wills 10 or 20 years ago and was always intrigued but never made the time to follow up with it. I have done some more reading and a little writing lately and have wondered about a good process to assist people in exploring this kind of writing for themselves. I’m involved in a storycatcher project here, too, involving interviewing community or family members, which feels related. Looking forward to what we learn together.


I live in the Bay Area of CA just a few miles east of Berkeley. I live with my partner David and my dog Sam, We enjoy taking long walks because I refuse to call them “hikes.” I love to travel and can be ready to go at the drop of a hat. We also love the theater and getting together with friends and family. My two grown children live nearby and between them have three children of their own. My family is a great delight and being able to know my grandchildren as they grow is a gift. My own grandparents were midwestern farmers. I grew up in Wyoming and have many memories about my childhood.

After retiring from a career as an organizational development consultant we moved from the east coast to CA. Here I have become very active in the storytelling world. As a storyteller I tell personal stories, myths and folk tales to adults and children. Currently I serve as Board Chair for the Storytelling Association of California. I also facilitate memoir writing workshops with older adults.