George Wurtzel builds the boat that is to hold Maire Kent's ashes in this trailer for this documentary film "The Embrace of Dying" by Keith Famie. The film is 1 of a 7-part series on PBS from October 6 to November 24, 2013. The following press release features George Wurtzel.

George Wurtzel, Blind Carpenter

When writing this overview about a recent filming we did with sixty-year old George Wurtzel, a resident of Minneapolis, MN, it’s important that I make it very clear George is totally blind and has been since a very young child.

George’s carpentry expertise range from coffee tables, cabinets, custom wood bowls and beautiful urns made out of pine. George is currently in the process of building a small, three-foot sailing vessel that will be holding the ashes of a twenty-four year old sarcoma cancer patient from Michigan.

Maire Kent died on September 27th after an 11-month fight with cardiac sarcoma. Her final wish was that her ashes could be placed in a sailboat and set sail in northern Michigan.

Maire’s desire to do this stems from a book she used to read as a young girl with her brothers and sisters titled “Paddle to the Sea.” George had come to Michigan to meet with Maire so he could better understand her wishes and to get to know her.

While George sat with Maire, we watched him carve the outline of Maire’s boat out of Styrofoam. Maire passed away three weeks later. Since her death, the University of Michigan Health System has created the Maire Kent Memorial Fund for Cardiac Tumor Research.

George will complete Maire’s boat this winter. The celebration launch will take place in June 2014. Maire’s ashes and her boat’s entire journey to the ocean will be filmed for the documentary series “The Embrace of Dying,” how we deal with the end of life.

This is George Wurtzel, a blind carpenter, building Maire's boat for a test run that will eventually set sail with Maire's ashes from the waters of The Great Lakes out into the open seas. Maire Caitlin Kent passed away September 27, 2013 from cardiac sarcoma of the heart.

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