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Jeff Piehler, Prairie Village Man Who Built His Own Coffin, Has Died

Shari Hartbauer
Lincoln Journal Star

Jeff Piehler, the retired Prairie Village thoracic surgeon who built his own coffin, died Friday after a 12-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 67.

In February, Piehler penned a New York Times op-ed about his decision to build his own coffin. Though his family believed it was morbid at first, building the coffin helped Piehler come to terms with his own mortality. 

At the same time, Piehler forged a close friendship with the woodworkerwho helped him. Peter Warren said the process was cathartic and calming for the doctor. He said they not only talked about the specifics of the coffin, but often relaxed with a beer and discussed philosophical questions of life and death.

Piehler spoke with Steve Kraske on Up to Date earlier this year about his illness and his decision to build his final resting box. He is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren. 

A memorial service and reception celebrating Dr. Piehler's life will be held at 2p.m., Sunday November 23rd, at the Community Christian Church, 4601 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri  64112.

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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