News Release

Canadian Latter-day Saint Kath Murray Recognized for Exceptional Contribution to Palliative Care

Making a difference is what Kath Murray does. For decades, she has been “a passionate nurse, educator, author, advocate, consultant and internationally respected leader in promoting excellence in palliative care” ( A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Sidney, British Columbia, Murray recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Palliative Care Nursing Association recognizing her exceptional work in care of those living with serious illnesses.

Making a Difference

Murray was raised in British Columbia by her community-focused mother and, in her teens, by her master-caregiver aunt, Frankie Montgomery. Murray witnessed her aunt care for family members, friends and neighbours who were sick and sometimes dying. Murray learned that when someone is in need, one responds.

Montgomery gifted Murray a book upon her high school graduation titled Go Do Something Great. The book’s message was clear to Murray: she could and must make a difference in the world. She pursued a career in nursing and worked for years as a registered nurse with the Victoria Hospice palliative response team.

As a nurse, Murray quickly discovered the powerful impact of palliative care on the relief of suffering. She realized that some of the suffering she had witnessed could have been prevented with palliative care. She was intent on doing something meaningful to improve the quality of life for those who were seriously ill or dying and for their families.

The words of the Latter-day Saint prophet Joseph Smith resonated with Murray: someone “filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race” (“Building the Kingdom of God”).

Teaching Others

Murray noted that “her recent award is evidence that small choices and opportunities, over the years, can lead into incredible and ‘great’ contributions.” Early in her hospice career, Murray was asked to teach courses at the local community college. Later, she and a colleague began offering private courses about palliative care throughout British Columbia, then across the country.

When working as a consultant, Murray heard Dr George Eisler of the BC Academic Health Council ask the question, “How are you [hospice leaders] going to prepare the workforce for the coming tsunami of dying?” This question penetrated Murray’s heart and became a life mission.

Murray noticed that health-care assistants were unrecognized members of the hospice team. “They are the eyes, the ears, the hands and the heart of the health-care team. They are too often undervalued and are often the unrecognized heroes on the team,” Murray said. She started developing materials designed specifically to meet their needs. Teaching gave meaning to Murray’s nursing experiences, and her nursing was strengthened because of her teaching.

More Than One “Something Great”

“One can pursue and lean into more than one ‘something great’ at the same time,” Murray said, emphasizing that, in addition to her palliative care work, one of her greatest contributions to the world has been raising five children with her husband, Ted Murray.

Raising children while working in hospice care was a juggling act. Nursing on-call gave Murray some control over her schedule and helped her find balance when her children were young. This period in her life was challenging, but Murray acknowledged that she “grew in her nursing and teaching practice.” Preparation for teaching could occur while playing LEGO, walking kids, cooking meals and changing diapers. And caring for patients and teaching about caring for the dying helped her appreciate living more fully. This period was a wonderful time of symbiosis, when Murray’s “something great” of family and career layered into each other.

Learning More

In 2005, Murray returned to school and completed a masters in thanatology (the study of death, dying and bereavement). Then she and Ted founded Life and Death Matters, an education, consulting and publishing company focused on developing resources for health-care workers, nurses and their families.

Murray said, “My goal is to develop ‘delicious and digestible’ resources that are easy for health-care assistants, professional caregivers and family caregivers to read, understand and implement. There is enough that is difficult when a loved one is living with a life-limiting illness; learning what to do and how to help should be made as simple as possible.” These textbooks and companion resources have been used across the globe.

Tragic Loss

The Murrays’ professional experience came back to help them when, in early 2020, before the COVID-19 lockdowns, their youngest son was tragically killed in a hunting accident. Accustomed to previously offering support, they now needed and benefited personally from the very support they had been teaching to others.

Grieving their loss during a time of COVID-19 lockdowns and separation from community had additional challenges. Kath and Ted gave thanks for “living, working and serving among people who understand what it means to comfort those [who] stand in need of comfort (see Mosiah 18:9) and who would reach out, if even from a distance.”

President Russell M. Nelson said, “Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: ‘Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die’ (Doctrine and Covenants 42:45)” (“Doors of Death” April 1992 general conference).

Read the story in French.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.