The Core Team
Host: Marianne Matzo, PhD, FAAN
Marianne Matzo earned her PhD (1996) in Gerontology. As a certified advanced nurse practitioner in oncology and palliative care, she has dedicated her 44-year career in nursing to pain and symptom management for people living with incurable illnesses.
Her award-winning Palliative Care Nursing textbook (with Dr. Deb Sherman) is now in its fifth edition. She also wrote a picture book to help explain death to children. She has taught palliative care principles all over the world and many of her academic publications have been translated into Japanese, Russian, and Italian. A retired university professor living in Yukon, Oklahoma, Marianne is now focusing on community education regarding dying and death.
Co-Host: Charlie Navarrette
Charlie started his career as an actor. When it became a strain on young family, he got a job as a paralegal with a legal firm assisting people with Mesothelioma – a lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. As patients asked questions, he became studied on issues related to palliative care and death.
Charlie lives in New York City, and teaches English as a second language and still gets acting gigs with internet original movies (Netflix and Amazon Prime). Keep an eye out for him!
Executive Producer: David Gillett, Major General, USAF (Retired)
David is retired from the U.S. Air Force after 34 years of service. He was married for 40 years to his wife, Stacia, who died suddenly in 2017. He still grieves for her but considers himself twice lucky as he married Dr. Marianne Matzo in 2019. David is a lifetime runner, a scuba diver, a dedicated Monty Python fan and loves the original Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers. He has two children: Marcus (married to Heather and grandson Jaxton) and Abby.
Producer: Sandi Troup, BSN, RN
Sandi Troup does our graphics, podcast editing, and website administration. Sandi had an awakening to the fragility of life as a 32-year old Air Force officer diagnosed with breast cancer. This experience launched her into a new career as a nurse, and is how she met Marianne. They worked together in cancer and palliative care research at the University of Oklahoma for over three years.
Shortly afterwards, Sandi and her family moved to Kenya where she was involved in public health programs and child rescue ministries. When she noticed a decline in her health, their family returned to her stomping grounds in Missouri. It was there she was diagnosed with a slow-progressing form of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Sandi believes in being grounded in the reality of the diagnosis, while living each moment with tenacity and joy. In fact, we have a hard time pulling her away from fly fishing, kayaking, music, and finding ways to use technology to defeat declining mobility with her engineering-minded son. And her husband recently left his 20-year teaching career to become a nurse! Carpe Diem!
Our Advisors and Special Guests
Millennial Grief Correspondent: Claire Luckey
At age 32 and only 5 months into her marriage, Claire’s husband did not recognize her when she arrived home from work. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer) in February 2020, and Claire was his caregiver until his death in June of 2021. To begin to cope with this loss and trauma, she channeled her sense of humor and inner bitch by creating the “Grieving Bitch” account on Instagram. Claire is sharing her grief journey and life challenges as a 30-something widow living in New York City with Everyone Dies in a regular ‘Third Half’ segment.
Fantabulous Faith Sister: Nancy Miller
Nancy is our spiritual advisor. She has been married to her husband Frank for 6 years and owns and operate Green Acres Farm OKC in east Edmond. She is country girl, grandma to 2, mom to 5, community leader, Founder of the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation, Independent Distributor for Young Living, an ordained Christian Minister, Pastoral Counselor, Chaplain and a Life Coach.
Nancy’s son Cade was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 6 weeks, and died at the age of 14 months. Her life was torn apart, and she was lost. A year after her son died she and her husband were separated and eventually divorced. It was at that time when I was in the deepest pit of despair and grief that she found her purpose and calling and started the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation (OKBTF) which she acted as Founder and President for 17 years.
In December of 2016 God called Nancy into full-time ministry and she became ordained and a Certified Christian Counselor. Additionally, she is a Certified Spiritual Care Disaster provider through the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.
Nancy specializes in grief, trauma and abuse counseling for women. She has a weekly blog, website and YouTube Channel entitled “Walking with Jesus”. She also produces weekly devotionals and on-line Bible classes to equip followers of Jesus to full-fill the plans and purposes of God for their life.
Mental Health Advisor: Victoria Bentley, LPC
Victoria Bentley is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Michigan and Tennessee with over seventeen years of experience assisting individuals and families who long to control their thinking instead of their thinking controlling them. She treats people with anxiety, depression, trauma, and helping clients learn more about psychoneuroimmunology and how to better manage chronic pain. Her practice is person-centered with a focus on solutions utilizing a combination of holistic psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), while maintaining a focus on compassion, empathy, and respect.
Medical Cannabis Expert: Mike Pachan
As cannabis becomes available in most states, we needed an expert to help us answer questions. Mike had an early start with medical cannabis therapy, interacting with patients as early as 2014. He created four patient programs with collaborations with local physicians and has had over 100,000 direct patient interactions in the past 5 years.
Mike is the CEO of Mountain Made. When he’s not running a business empire, he’s spending time with his amazing wife and adorable canine companions exploring the world around us. You can find him embodying the #GoLikeHell spirit with a ton of active hobbies. He loves homesteading, downhill mountain biking, trail running, and anything outside (yes, even yard work!) He wakes up early and I works late. How does he do it, you ask? A complete Mountain Made CBD regimen of course!
Charles F. von Guten, MD, PhD, FACP, FAAHPM
Vice President, Medical Affairs, Hospice & Palliative Medicine, OhioHealth
Adjunct Professor of Medicine, Ohio State University College of Medicine
Dr. Charles F. von Gunten is widely known as a pioneer in the new specialty of hospice and palliative medicine. He is the Founding Chairman, Test Committee, Hospice & Palliative Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine on behalf of 9 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Palliative Medicine. He received a life-time achievement award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine in 2011 when he was only 54 years old. In 2014 he was recognized as one of 30 pioneers in palliative medicine by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. When he was 56, the American Cancer Society gave him its prestigious pathfinder in palliative care award, in part for his work developing a palliative care program embedded in a cancer center. In 2015 he was named a top cancer doctor in Newsweek Health. He has been particularly interested in the integration of hospice and palliative care into standard medical care. He has published and spoken widely about hospice, palliative medicine, pain and symptom control.
Dr. von Gunten received the Bachelor of Arts Degree with honors from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 1978. He then earned a PhD in Biochemistry and the MD degree with honors from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1988. He subsequently pursued residency training in Internal Medicine, followed by subspecialty training in Hematology/Oncology at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago. After joining Northwestern’s faculty, he directed programs in hospice and palliative care, education, and research. In 1999 he was recruited to San Diego where he led the development of education and research programs in the Institute for Palliative Medicine at San Diego Hospice as Provost and the University of California, San Diego as Clinical Professor of Medicine. In 2012 he was recruited to OhioHealth to develop a system wide program of hospice and palliative care.
Dr. von Gunten is one of our regular guests in our “Drinks with Death” segments.
In addition to the love and devotion for her family and friends, Marcia has two other passions in her life – acting and social service. For her work on stage, she has received two Best Supporting Actress In New England Awards, and several nominations for Best Actress. One of her most rewarding roles was portraying the wife of a man with Alzheimer’s disease in the Boston premier of Conspiracy of Memory by Steven Bogart.
In her “day job” Marcia has worked at a drug treatment center, shelter for battered women, and for eight years, until her retirement, she was Assistant Program Manager and Program Manager for a Massachusetts Ombudsman Program. She had 37 nursing facilities in her district where she advocated for nursing home residents ensuring they were not neglected, mistreated or abused, and they received quality care in a safe comfortable environment. It was very rewarding to know she made a difference in the lives of many. Marcia loved working with the elderly, and then she became one!
Marcia is grateful for the opportunity to be part of this important discussion of death and dying.
Everyone Dies is grateful for the generous donation of assistance provided by Bethany Law Center, LLP of Oklahoma. For estate planning needs, visit their site at bethanylaw.com.