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Arts & Culture

Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer

Andrei Taranchenko/flickr creative commons

Haines, Alaska is a small town situated in the northern part of the Alaska Panhandle. It's home to abundant wildlife and the scenery is breathtaking. Haines has a population of about 2,000. There's a public radio station there and a weekly paper called The Chilkat Valley News, where Heather Lende's been writing obituaries for the last two decades. 

As an obituary writer in a small-town Lende's been tasked with writing about her friends, neighbors, and community members. What she's taken away from the experience is the ability to see the good. Lende's distilled what she's learned about life, love, and acceptance in her book Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer.

Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.


  • Benedict Carey – author of How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens
  • Heather Lende – author of Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons from a Small-Town Obituary Writer


  • “Gne Gne,” Montefiori Cocktail
  • “Forever Young,” Rhiannon Giddens and Iron & Wine

Jonathan McNicol and Faith Middleton contributed to this show.

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Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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