|Karen van Vuuren, Co-founder and Managing Partner||Seth Viddal, Managing Partner|
|Karen van Vuuren has taught and supported natural death care for more than twenty years. In 2003, she founded the end-of-life educational non-profit organization, Natural Transitions and is co-founder of the National Home Funeral Alliance. She has worked in both elder care and hospice, and is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker of Dying Wish (stopping eating and drinking at end-stage illness) and Go in Peace (care of veterans with PTSD at end of life).|
Karen van Vuuren is a former broadcast and print journalist who has taught and supported natural death care for more than twenty years. In 2003, she founded the end-of-life educational non-profit organization, Natural Transitions and edited the organization’s magazine for more than ten years. She is co-founder of the National Home Funeral Alliance. She has worked in both elder care and hospice, and is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker of Dying Wish (stopping eating and drinking at end-stage illness) and Go in Peace (care of veterans with PTSD at end of life). Her radio feature, The Practice of Living and Dying (https://beta.prx.org/stories/31107) about hospice physician, Scott Eberle’s work as a wilderness rites of passage guide, featured on National Public Radio. She also contributed a chapter on after-death care to the book Preparing to Die by Andrew Holecek https://shambhalatimes.org/2020/09/18/preparing-to-die-by-andrew-holocek/
Karen van Vuuren is a former broadcast news journalist whose 2008 documentary, Dying Wish (www.dyingwishmedia.com) marked an unanticipated return to visual media. She is the founder of Natural Transitions, a non-profit organization that helps families prepare consciously for death and conduct home funerals. Her current video project is the documentary Go in Peace (www.goinpeacefilm.org) about combat veterans and their care needs at end of life.
Karen van Vuuren is the founder and executive director of non-profit, Natural Transitions (since 2003). Based in Boulder, Colorado, Natural Transitions (www.naturaltransitions.org) provides education and support for conscious, holistic and green approaches to end of life, including after-death care. Since 2003, we have supported hundreds of individuals to direct their own funerals, led deathcare workshops, organized green burial and home funeral conferences, and we currently publish a national biannual magazine, Natural Transitions. Karen van Vuuren is also a documentary filmmaker whose passion is end of life care. Her films, are Dying Wish (www.dyingwishmedia.com) about voluntary stopping of eating and drinking at end of life; and Go in Peace! (www.goinpeacefilm.org) about the role of caregivers in healing the soul wounds of veterans at end of life.
|Seth started with The Natural Funeral as an intern as part of his studies at Naropa University. He added so much talent, enthusiasm, and over-all problem solving to so many aspects of the business that we wanted to make him our partner. Our clients tend to embrace his integrity and willingness to be present during their most difficult moments. His greatest gift is his uncanny ability to make each situation better than how it was before he arrived.|
|Vicki Viddal, Human Resources and Family Support Specialist||Daniel Ziskin, PhD, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Finance and Technology|
|Vicki brings her experience as mother, teacher, manager and friend to The Natural Funeral. She lets her heart lead when she serves families. When she isn’t working with The Natural Funeral, Vicki raises goats and chickens, tends her beautiful garden, and volunteers at her favorite local farms and schools. She is the proud mother of four spectacularly diverse children – Brittney, Jeremy, Ragen and Shepherd.||Daniel Ziskin is an Earth scientist, working for NASA, NOAA and currently NCAR. Although his professional specialty is data management of satellite observations, his life-long passion has been as an environmentalist. His expertise makes him a valuable member of The Natural Funeral team. Daniel is responsible for finance and technology.|
|Nicole Matarazzo, Holistic Funeral Coordinator||Jane Anderson, Holistic Funeral Coordinator|
|Nicole’s poised and compassionate spirit as a Holistic Funeral Coordinator and Death Midwife offers a sense of peace to families facing a time that often feels overwhelming, uncertain and filled with grief. Nicole was initiated to end-of-life care through her work as a Child Life Specialist working in pediatrics with children diagnosed with AIDS and cancer. She has dedicated her heart and soul to the sacred space of death and dying and considers the invitation to this holy ground a privilege. With wisdom and a wealth of experience, Nicole supports families navigating the challenges of end-of-life care and after-death care decisions as a Death Midwife and Holistic Funeral Coordinator. Nicole founded End of Life Pathways in 2016 where she is a certified Death Midwife. www.endoflifepathways.com||Since 2016, I have been a death midwife and hospice volunteer. In 2019, out of a desire to share the powerful healing qualities of essential oils, I created a hospice aromatherapy program for the TRU Community In-Patient Care Unit in Longmont, CO. I currently facilitate the Rocky Mountain End-of-Life Collective, which is a network of death doulas and midwives offering death care in Northern Colorado. I also co-facilitate the Open Mind Open Heart death discussion group and write their monthly newsletter. I am so happy to be a part of The Natural Funeral team, providing guidance and support to our community.|
|Ray Green, Holistic Funeral Coordinator||David Heckel, Pre-need Arrangement Coordinator|
|Throughout my life, I have been interested in death and the mystery that shrouds it. The rituals of death intrigue me. In the early 2000s, I began to research the history of at-home funerals, family-led care of the deceased at home. In 2003, I joined Karen van Vuuren and Faith Davis to birth Natural Transitions, an educational non-profit. Our goal was to offer education about green after-death care practices and meaningful death care with family participation.|
For nearly two decades, I have worked in hospice care at the bedside of the dying. I have assisted families with at-home funerals, and co-facilitated green, home funeral workshops. I believe that each person deserves to live and die with dignity. I am truly honored to support our TNF clients on their end-of-life journey at such an intimate time. To walk alongside you and those most dear to you is truly a gift.
|I heard the call to funeral service in high school in St. Louis, Missouri through a survey designed to guide me in a career choice. But I did not answer that call until age 32 when I returned to college as an adult to obtain the education and credentials required to become a Funeral Director. Following a sabbatical of sorts to be a full-time father to twins, I returned to funeral service and was presented with the opportunity to help families in a different way by pre-arranging their services. I believe that supporting and holding families as they gather to say goodbye to a loved one is THE most important service we can provide. The Universe connected my twin flame and me in 2016. We love camping, hiking, music, and our Giant Schnauzer. We are also new owners of a 100 year old house that we are excited to restore. In my off time enjoy riding my motorcycle and have recently taken up target archery. It would be my pleasure to meet you!|
|Gretchen Ford, Holistic Funeral Administrator||Ben Martin, Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®|
|I first encountered The Natural Funeral at the death of my daughter in 2019. That day marked the first step on a journey of deepening my understanding and relationship to mortality. When I accepted the role of Holistic Funeral Administrator, it felt like I had found my vocational home. I enjoy using my administrative and communication skills to manage our work flow efficiently, so we can do what we do best, serving families with compassion and love. In my spare time, you'll find me hiking, reading, listening to podcasts, hanging out with my son, and connecting with my daughter.||Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®
Serving Colorado, especially the Front Range and Foothills
Ben Martin is a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant through the Celebrant Foundation and Institute (www.celebrantinstitute.org).
Through the years, Ben has shown a talent for crafting inspirational ceremonies and celebrations tailored to the unique needs of his audience. It has been his joy to officiate at such life-changing events as baby namings, graduations, weddings and funerals. Ben has been a writer by vocation and avocation for the last 37 years and brings a refined voice and creativity to each service. He recently published Prayers on the Road Home.
Ben completed his certification as a Life-Cycle Celebrant in 2016 with a special emphasis in both funerals and in ceremonies across-the-life cycle.
|Becky Davis, Holistic Funeral Coordinator and Pre-Need Consultant||Queenie, Holistic Funeral Support Dog|
|My enthusiasm and excitement to be a part of something life-changing is the force behind my values. For the past 15 years, I’m often both fascinated with and bewildered by the conversations surrounding death and dying. I’m passionate about focusing that conversation around beautifully natural ways of navigating an inevitable part of everyone’s life experience.|
I have three children, ten grandchildren and a 92 year-old mother for whom I manage care along with my siblings. I moved to Colorado from Texas to open an End-of-Life Carehome with a close friend of mine. Our goal was to help provide a peaceful, beautiful place for someone to spend their final season, receiving excellent care and surrounded by those they loved most in the world. During the process of opening our home, we connected with The Natural Funeral and discovered that we had the very same outlook on the death experience extending to ecologically friendly, and equally beautiful, ways of body disposition. It was love at first sight and now I have the unbelievably incredible opportunity to work with TNF to provide those services to Northern Colorado. I have years of experience as a hospice chaplain and always love to find out what is most important to my clients, and then see how I might be able to help meet that need for them. This is a value of mine that I will carry on with everyone I work with at TNF. It is such a honor to play a small part of any family’s story.
|Although Queenie is the smallest member of our team, she packs a lot of heart into her miniature body. She's always available for a visit.|