Latest News:

George Eighmey Appointed As New President of Death with Dignity

November 7, 2015

By Executive Director Peg Sandeen, PhD, MSW


Death with Dignity president George EighmeyIt is my distinct pleasure to announce that our Board of Directors has appointed George Eighmey as President of Death with Dignity.

Thanks to his experience, advocacy, and boundless energy, George has been an exemplary ambassador for Oregon’s law and for our organization. And he has been instrumental in Vermont and California passing Death with Dignity laws.

I look forward to having George lead us and the movement through the next phase of our development.

Please sign this card to congratulate George on his appointment.


About George

Following a stint in the Air Force and education in business administration and law, George practiced law for nearly 30 years. He also served as elected councilman of Urbana, Illinois, president of a Champaign County, Illinois, bar association, and member of numerous nonprofit boards.

As an Oregon state representative, from 1993 to 1999, George was not only a minority whip, vice-chair of judiciary committee, and his party’s liaison to the governor’s office, but also a staunch advocate for the groundbreaking Death with Dignity Act. During the 1997 campaign George debated opponents across the state, helped block the opponents in the legislature, and cheered with all Oregonians on gaining the option to die with dignity.

Shortly thereafter, George became executive director of the organization established to facilitate the implementation of the law, serving for 12 years and working with over 1,600 terminally Oregonians who wanted to consider the option of using the law.

George joined our board in 2013. He has traveled overseas and around the U.S. on our behalf to educate legislators, opinion-makers, journalists, terminally ill patients, and others on Oregon’s unblemished record of implementing the law. Most recently, he worked with legislators in Vermont and California to pass their state’s own Death with Dignity laws.

Death with Dignity President George Eighmey with California Senators Wolk and Monning

Death with Dignity President George Eighmey (center) with California Senators Lois Wolk and Bill Monning

Outgoing President

George succeeds Steve Telfer who served as President for 10 years.

Before his retirement, Steve was a long-time lobbyist on state and national levels, including in Oregon. Steve’s relationships with Oregon legislators ensured that amendments eroding the provisions of the Death with Dignity Act never gained any traction. His staunch defense of the law is a major reason for Oregon’s model legislation remaining intact.

A lifelong Huskies fan, Steve was a member of several state and local government task forces. He has served as Chair of the Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement System, Vice Chairman of the Oregon Investment Council, and a member of the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Management Labor Advisory Committee. In the healthcare field he worked as Vice President of Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center in Portland, and played a prominent role in the creation of Legacy Health System.

Steve’s steady guidance, thoughtful approach to business processes and investing, and keen insight into political strategy and the workings of state legislatures have served us and the movement well. Time and again, Steve always ensured our organization followed nonprofit best practices. His quiet and business-driven leadership has contributed to the longevity and stability of our organization.

We as an organization and I personally will miss Steve’s leadership. His shoes are large to fill, but I’m confident George will do a splendid job.

Please join me in congratulating George on his new role, sign this card.


Adrienne Dare
November 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Congratulations George,

I first encountered George in 2002 when my 90 year old mother who lived in Oregon was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her pain could not be controlled. Geroge helped guide us throught the process of Oregon’s Death With Dignity law. It was a profound experience and I am greatful to this day that Mom could die peacefully at home surrounded by family. Thank you again Geroge and thank you for all your years of work on this very very important issue.

Sincerely, Adrienne Dare from Silver city New Mexico

Sherry Kay Aagesen
May 27, 2018 at 2:57 pm

I THINK I know George. Was he originally from Waterloo,Iowa? MY NAME IS Sherry Kay Sanders from Dewar Iowa. Would like to hear from him.

Comments are closed.