WOW Gal Angel

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist born in Zurich, Switzerland.

When she moved to the US in 1958, she was shocked by the way hospitals dealt with dying patients. She found that everything was “huge and very depersonalized, very technical” and that terminally ill patients were often left alone, with nobody to talk to.

In response, she began running a seminar for medical students at the University of Colorado where she would interview people who were dying about how they felt about death. 

These interviews led to her groundbreaking book “On Death and Dying” (1969), in which she discussed how patients talk about dying and how end-of-life care could be improved. 

Her work challenged the authoritarian decorum and puritanism of the day, and her book became a bestseller, inspiring letters from patients and doctors all over the world.

Elisabeth was also one of the central figures in the hospice care movement. She believed that euthanasia prevents people from completing their  

“unfinished business” and founded “Shanti Nilaya” (Home of Peace), a healing center near San Diego. Her work has helped to change the way we think about death and dying, and her legacy continues through the EKR Foundation, a non-profit organization inspired by her life. (The beginning of modern day hospices)

Elisabeth did face criticism for her work on death and dying. Her theory of the five stages of grief, also known as the “Kübler-Ross model”, has been widely debated and criticized. 

Some critics argue that the stages are too rigid and do not accurately reflect the complex emotions that people experience when grieving. Others have pointed out that the stages were initially meant to describe the grief that someone confronting the end of their own life will face, but they are often used to forecast the course of grief that a bereaved person will experience. Despite these criticisms, her work has had a profound impact on our understanding of death and dying, and her legacy continues to influence the field today.


She was a 2007 inductee into the American National Women's Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of twenty honorary degrees and by July 1982 had taught, in her estimation, 125,000 students in death and dying courses in colleges, seminaries, medical schools, hospitals, and social-work institutions. 

In 1970, she delivered The Ingersoll Lectures on Human Immortality at Harvard University, on the theme, On Death and Dying. 

One of her greatest wishes was her plan to build a hospice for infants and children infected with HIV to give them a last home where they could live until their death. In 1985 she attempted to do this in Virginia, but local residents feared the possibility of infection and blocked the necessary re-zoning. In 1994, she lost her house and possessions to an arson fire that is suspected to have been set by opponents of her AIDS work.  The Shanti Nilaya Healing Center closed not long afterwards.

A year later, in 1995, Elisabeth suffered a series of strokes which left her partially paralyzed on her left side. She found living in a wheelchair, slowly waiting for death, an unbearable suffering, but nevertheless she died naturally, in 2005,  in the way she had advocated, at her home in Scottsdale, Arizona. legacy continues to influence the field today. 

"In Switzerland I was educated in line with the basic premise: work work work. You are only a valuable human being if you work. This is utterly wrong. Half working, half dancing - that is the right mixture. I myself have danced and played too little." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Elisabeth wrote more than 20 books during her career. Some of her other notable works include:

“On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss” (2005)
“The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying” (1997) 
“Death: The Final Stage of Growth” (1975) 

 “On Children and Death” (1983) 

“To Live Until We Say Good-Bye” (1978) 

“Living with Death and Dying (2011) How to Communicate with the Terminally Ill 

“Working it Through“ (2011) 

We have so much to be grateful for in the teachings of Elisabeth. Having lost my first loved one at the age of 7 I was unaware of these stages of grief only of the fact that each of my siblings and Mother seemed to be experiencing different ones at different times leaving me confused for years.

Now in my 70s, while I totally don't enjoy any of the stages except acceptance, I do embrace them all and allow myself to experience the cyclical way they tend to present themselves. Thank YOU Elisabeth for this AMAZING Gift of Insight and introduction into how Hospices can play a better role than hospitals at the end of life.

Compiled & Contributed by Fan Carolyn Shannon

Thank YOU to Our WOW Gal Angel Sponsor whose mission is connect people to their Guardian Angels in visible, colourful, reflections that are alive

Directory  Videos  Events   Reviews  Contact Us  WOW Gals   WOW Gal Angels   WOW Pet Angels

 Celebrating the WOW Gal  in Every Woman

Copyright © 2023 Women of Worth Magazine All Rights Reserved.

Published by True Emotions Artwork Plus

This site is intended for the enjoyment of fans of Inspiring Women.

If you are the owner of copyrighted material which appears here and would like for it to be removed, please send an email with your request to

No monetary gain has been derived from the displaying of photos or articles, or from this site in general since 2011 other than every for 5 Year Anniversary Fundraising Events. This site will be forever under construction.