Our staff has a strong commitment to helping the members and families who need our services.
Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the mission and vision of People's Memorial are followed.
Born and raised on California's beautiful Monterey Peninsula, Chris moved to Seattle in 2000 to study sociology at Seattle University. After earning his bachelor's in 2004, he went on to study and train in funeral service with the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. After serving an internship at The Co-op Funeral Home of People's Memorial, he returned to Seattle University for the Masters in Pastoral Studies program at the graduate School of Theology and Ministry. “Studies in spirituality and pastoral companionship only made sense as my ‘next step,’” he says. “Pastoral counseling was never my aim, but I was seeking to work on a similar set of skills.”
Having worked in funeral home settings varying from corporate to non-profit, he feels passionate about contributing to The Co-op Funeral Home of People's Memorial. "It's an honor to serve each family," he says. "Every family should have access to the widest possible variety of options. I'm grateful to be able to offer that."
In his free time, Chris enjoys domestic travel and local casinos. He does not enjoy spiders or mushrooms. Read more about Chris here.
Nissa Cooley, Funeral Director Intern
Nissa is a San Diego native that has lived in Seattle for 16 years. Her professional background is mostly comprised of various culinary and hospitality ventures; from cooking to management, she’s done it all! While she still enjoys cooking for her family and friends, she left the industry for good in 2019.
Her own experiences with loss, grief and the trauma that can ensue were a catalyst for her next venture: deathwork. She is a certified end-of-life doula and Conscious Dying Coach. Nissa is passionate about death positive movements, providing and advancing equitable anti-racist care across all intersections of the death and dying sector, as well as green burial/disposition methods.
Outside of work, Nissa enjoys spending time with her family & their several pets, travel and watercolor painting.
Aryana comes to death care as a fourth career, a deepening of lessons learned while teaching comparative religions and cultural anthropology to college students in several states, and later serving as a librarian and then administrator in the Washington state community college system. Before all that she did a decade or so of world traveling with adventuresome parents as a child and then a bit as an adult citizen of the world. Aryana's first and most memorable encounter with human care of the dead was witnessing as a young one the funeral pyre of a monk in Nepal. Although coming to funeral directorship as a profession took another 50 years, that key moment struck the original spark.
Born and raised in the Eastern Sierras of California, Kielly has called the PNW home for over 15 years. They come to the death industry after 20 years spent working various roles within the hospitality industry, including being a certified Sommelier & Cicerone. Their life long goal has been to become a mortician, death doula and certified herbalist. From a young age, they have found peace, solace and comfort in the death process and want to extend respect, patience and empathy to those going through life's final transition. With a keen eye for detail and organization, they joyfully assist the Co-op Funeral home with ensuring that all those seeking our services are provided for on every level. When not at work, Kielly can be found out in nature or in their kitchen crafting, baking and seeking deeper knowledge of the natural world. Their passions include music, books, all things fermented, every manner of cuisine as well as the occult and spooky things in general.
Amy Valine, Administrative Assistant
Amy relocated to Seattle after finishing her Funeral Service Education A.S. at American River College in Sacramento. Before joining the Co-Op team as the Administrative Assistant, her prior roles in funeral service included funeral attendant and removal technician positions. Both taught her the importance of supporting bereaved individuals through loss, which she carries forward as she follows her passion for the green movement within death care. Before pursuing mortuary school, Amy completed a B.S. degree in Environmental Science at Portland State University and working at the Co-Op has been a great combination of her ecological and mortuary training.
When not at the office, Amy spends her time assembling jigsaw puzzles, trying new vegetarian recipes, and chatting with her friends and family back home in California.
Kimberly Forsythe began her career with The Co-op Funeral Home as a funeral director intern during its inception in 2007. She then received her funeral directors license and had the honor of assisting families with their loved ones arrangements for over 15 years. She is now The Co-op's new Business & Finance Director, following new and evolving interests, while still having the honor of working for the same organization that she has grown to love.
After receiving a Bachelor's degree at Western Washington University, Kimberly had originally planned for a future in art therapy. That direction began to shift after her Grandmother mailed her a Seattle Times article about green burial. With a deep passion for sustainable death care she loves being part of an organization that strives for transparency and choices in end-of-life options. She recognizes that these times can be difficult and works hard to help families find the right plan for their individual needs.
Kimberly lives in Kirkland with her husband, 2 children, and 3 cats. When she is not busy at work, she loves exploring the woods and tending to her herb garden.
2023-24 People’s Memorial Board of Directors
Ann Norman - President
Katy Roberts - Vice President
Kirsten Kauffman - Treasurer
Meghan Walker - Secretary
Alternate Board Members