Certified Funeral Celebrant

Leslie's mission

I firmly believe that every person who passes from this earth deserves to have their story told in a memorable way that honors and reflects their true nature.

In the past, funerals have been led by clergy in houses of worship as the standard practice for honoring our dead. But the Celebration of Life service is increasingly becoming a recognized alternative. Two months after officiating her mother’s funeral, Leslie registered for, and attended the Funeral Celebrant certification course offered by Life Celebrants International, based in Canada. She received her certificate of completion in April 2022.

Celebrants offer a secular perspective with a focus on personalization, enriching the service with stories and portrayals that honor the deceased. Their funerals typically follow the usual sequence (music, eulogy, testimonials from attendees), but options such as selecting a particular venue or special added touches are welcome. If a family voices a request—from slightly unusual to downright different—the celebrant will likely say yes. The nature of their training is to meet the client’s desires if it is logistically possible.

Structure When It Is Most Needed

Death of a loved one is difficult, even when expected or mixed with relief signaling the end of undue suffering. Because grief impedes the ability to organize or address multiple details when time is limited, a celebrant can relieve stress or pressure by helping the bereaved plan and design important aspects of the memorial observance.

A skilled celebrant brings comfort, guidance and affirmation in a time of need by assisting and orchestrating a meaningful, memorable tribute to the deceased.

What Leslie Brings: Support, Storytelling, Special Touches
  • Three decades of inspirational public speaking, storytelling, writing, facilitating, listening and coaching
  • Experience in customizing content for speeches, which translates to personalization of memorials and tributes
  • Communication skills that adapt to client preferences for information gathering (phone, email, Facetime, Zoom, Facebook messaging, perhaps even in person)
  • A willingness to connect with more than one family member for additional information to enrich stories and anecdotes
  • A desire to collect light-hearted examples that add variety and emotional relief
  • A working partnership in which clients get to review the complete Tribute (eulogy) for fact checking and final approval
  • A commitment to creating an accurate, authentic “word portrait” of the beloved with copies of the Tribute available at the service

A Personal Note: Leslie’s Commitment as a Celebrant

I will serve, support and guide you in creating a Celebration of Life that reflects and honors the essence of your loved one.
I will weave key stories of moments and memories into the fabric of a lifetime to be cherished and fondly remembered.
I will inquire about your loved one’s quirks and ask for light-hearted stories to add smiles, familiarity and maybe even laughter to the ceremony.
I will ask about your loved one’s favorite songs, poems, colors, quotations or experiences and other relevant details.

I will ask you to review your loved one’s Tribute before the service to correct and/or approve it, ensuring that it appropriately represents your loved one.

I will provide you with a gift copy of my book All Is Not Lost: the healing journey through crisis, grief and loss as a token of my gratitude for the privilege of working with you.

If you wish to hold a graveside service, we can end with an additional story, remembrance, metaphor, poem or other observance as a final goodbye. While my memorials tend to be secular in nature, if you want a religious passage, poem or prayer, we can do that. This is all about you and how you want your loved one and this day remembered.

What People Say About Leslie’s Celebrant Services