Jon Underwood - Pioneer of Death Cafe

6/1/1973 – 6/25/2017


It is with great sadness that Donna, wife of Jon Underwood, shared with the Death Cafe community the loss of her husband, Jon Underwood on Sunday June 25th, 2017 at the age of 44. The world lost a great man, husband, father of two, and pioneer of the worldwide movement to talk about death and dying known as "Death Cafe".

Jon was uniquely and unusually aware that life is short and appreciated his life fully, reflecting on this through daily practice. 'Life is good Donna' was something he would remind his wife of regularly.

Jon didn't get lost in the minutia of life. He lived every day reflecting very consciously on the fact that none of us know how long we have and focussed completely on being present in, and making the most of every minute.

It's so easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and get caught up in the minor details, but Jon pulled off that challenge so many of us can only aspire to, of truly appreciating what we have. This was how he lived his life and through his work he helped so many others to live this way too.

His strong moral compass and determination to live well and do good with his life was an absolute inspiration to everyone who knew him. Through his life he helped tens of thousands of people all over the world to regularly come together, drink tea, eat delicious cake, and take time out to remember what really matters.

It is hard to quantify the impact that he's had on changing the way cultures around the world think about death. He single handedly started a movement to openly talk about death, bringing it out from behind closed doors into everyday conversation with a lightness and approachability that has captivated the media and faithful followers across the globe.

We lost a great man.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Underwood family and the community he's inspired over the years.

Jon, may you rest in peace.


Memories & Condolences
  • I was shocked to learn of the death of Jon and my heart goes out to his wife and family as they mourn the loss of a great man, a pioneer, and inspiration to me and the many other founders of Death Cafes worldwide.

    I remember when I started my first website, I'm Sorry to Hear and thought-sparred with Jon about his similar UK site-

    How 2 people across the ocean, in different cultures could share in near identical desires for change and transparency in the cloaked Death Care industry dumbfounded me. That sentiment only continued as I learned about Death Cafe and was inspired to start one in Philadelphia.

    Though, I only had the pleasure of speaking with Jon a couple of times, the impact that he made on my life and the lives of Americans once afraid of talking about death is undeniable.

    I will forever appreciate the courage and zeal Jon had in bringing this important conversation to the forefront of our societies.

    To his wife, Donna, and the Underwood family, please accept my deepest condolences on your loss.

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