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BS: obituaries - their uses...

Big Al Whittle 23 Sep 19 - 10:40 PM
The Sandman 24 Sep 19 - 01:17 AM
The Sandman 24 Sep 19 - 01:43 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Sep 19 - 08:55 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Sep 19 - 09:28 AM
gillymor 24 Sep 19 - 09:42 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Sep 19 - 09:46 AM
Mrrzy 24 Sep 19 - 10:09 AM
punkfolkrocker 24 Sep 19 - 10:43 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Sep 19 - 10:44 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Sep 19 - 10:47 AM
meself 24 Sep 19 - 11:10 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Sep 19 - 12:34 PM
Mrrzy 24 Sep 19 - 03:57 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Sep 19 - 07:29 PM
Mrrzy 24 Sep 19 - 10:12 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Sep 19 - 11:14 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Sep 19 - 03:47 AM
Neil D 25 Sep 19 - 04:46 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Sep 19 - 05:02 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Sep 19 - 05:09 AM
Mr Red 25 Sep 19 - 05:17 AM
Mrrzy 25 Sep 19 - 10:07 AM
Tattie Bogle 25 Sep 19 - 07:56 PM
Ebbie 26 Sep 19 - 03:04 AM
BobL 26 Sep 19 - 03:05 AM
Mr Red 26 Sep 19 - 04:57 AM
Charmion 26 Sep 19 - 09:38 AM
Steve Shaw 26 Sep 19 - 10:20 AM
Neil D 27 Sep 19 - 06:12 AM
Steve Shaw 27 Sep 19 - 09:47 AM
Newport Boy 27 Sep 19 - 12:01 PM
Mrrzy 29 Sep 19 - 11:16 AM
Joe_F 30 Sep 19 - 06:30 PM

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Subject: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 10:40 PM

I know this must seem strange, but it suddenly struck me that what we ought to do is look at the person we love most, write their obituary and read it to them.
What is the point of waiting until someone is dead and then telling a lot of outsiders - some who scarcely know you?
Surely the time to articulate the reasons you love and respect people is while they are alive, and they can hear what a miracle of joy their life has been to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 01:17 AM

Al not strange i would describe it as thoughtful or thought provoking


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 01:43 AM

Obituaries are comforting for partners of those who have died


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 08:55 AM

I think you'll find that newspaper obituaries for prominent people are routinely written well before their deaths, so that the papers can get them into the next day's edition with just a few update tweaks.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 09:28 AM

True enough - they don't tend to be very prominent in my life.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: gillymor
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 09:42 AM

I let my wife know how much I appreciate and love her as often as I can and don't see any reason to bring the grim reaper into it.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 09:46 AM

It's easier when you do the cooking...


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 10:09 AM

When my grandfather was dying I wrote him a long letter about what a great grandfather he'd been. My uncle (his sirviving son) read it to him. I am truly in favor of that idea.
On the other hand from my mom's obit I learned things about her that I had not known. For instance I remember doing origami with her, but had not known that years earlier she had sold original origami designs to the Japanese government.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 10:43 AM

I thought obits were like a starting pistol for greedy distant relatives
to decend on the deceased's house to strip it of valuables
whilst searching for a will..???


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 10:44 AM

As long as you don't write those long letters to people who don't know they're dying as yet... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 10:47 AM

Could we not make up a cod obituary for the now belly-up Boris? Even a limerick would do. I have to go to Sainsbury's now though...


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: meself
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 11:10 AM

Al, what you're talking about is often done at wedding anniversary and birthday celebrations, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 12:34 PM

"As long as you don't write those long letters to people who don't know they're dying as yet... ;-)"

A Sergeant major Major suring National Service, reputed for his tactlessness was sent to inform one of his men that his mother had died
He assembled the men on the parade ground, line them up and roarded - "Jenkins - your mother is dead"
The recruit collapsed with the shock
His superiors got to hear of it, called him in and reprimanded him severely
Not long afterwards he was given the task of informing one of the men that both of his parents had died in a car crash
He assembled the men on the parade ground, lined them up and roared:
"Will every man with both parents still living take one step forward - not so fast Harris"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 03:57 PM

Oh, Steve, I didn't *say* Now that you're dying, I just wrote a long appreciative letter. This was back when we used to write letters. Uncle Greg is going to get one of those soon, he's still alive and coherent. Grandmother didn't; first I did not appreciate her, but also she outlived her wits by about 15 years. Hardy old bat. Mom, another hardy-seeming old bat, didn't because she died suddenly.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 07:29 PM

Wasn't it the estimable Dave Swarbrick who opened the newspaper one morning, only to read his own obituary? :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 10:12 PM

There's a song about that...


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 11:14 PM

Some of the most fascinating reading in the paper can be in the obituary section. I worked at a weekly paper and regularly had to compose them from what people were telling me, others wanted to dictate long rambling treatises and though the paper makes money (Obits are a form of add, paid for by the inch) I would usually step in and suggest edits to smooth the content and make for better reading. No on was ever upset with the results, and sometimes they were incredibly grateful.

There was one in my hometown paper in 2008 that was simply so amazing it got lots of remarks from readers that amounted to "I didn't know him, but I'm so pleased to learn about his life." His name was John Wayne Dappen, and if the family ever search on his name and discover this posted on Mudcat, all I can say is that I also wish I'd gotten to know him and appreciate his humor and candor (and the kids' as well). I made a PDF copy and have just copied to past it here:


If you're reading this, my family did not take my advice and is wasting money on me
rather than giving it to someone who is alive and who could really use it. I'm a realist,
however, and know I'm likely to be overruled so I've written some things down. It is,
after all, MY life and, for once, I want the last word.

I was born in Kansas, raised in Iowa, graduated from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 1942,
and received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Paper Chemistry (Wisconsin) in 1950.
Interrupting my education was World War II and, for some of those years, I worked for
the Manhattan Project (Tennessee) as a cog in the machinery that built the bombs that
would end the war in the Pacific.

I leave behind my wife of 63 years, Glady; three children, Ann Manes (Bob), of Jacksonville,
Oregon, Alan (Sara), of Vienna, Virginia, and Andy (Jan), of Wenatchee,
Washington. My eldest son, Art (Linn), preceded me in death in 2006. Besides my
children I leave behind 16 grandchildren and 13 (and counting) great-grandchildren.
It's ironic that Glady and I worked for many years to raise money for Planned
Parenthood.

My working years were spent with Scott Paper Company and we moved quite often. I
lived and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, Mexico, and Pennsylvania (again). In
1968, I was sent to Everett where I spent the remainder of my career. Here some
claim I met my Peter Principle managing the pulp mill. Others say my bluntness finally
caught up with me because I was quick to call a spade a spade and a bad policy a bad
policy.

After retirement my worst mistake was taking that bluntness into Glady's kitchen
where a little constructive criticism landed me the job of cooking for 20 years. One way
to minimize that chore was volunteering with the International Executive Service Corp—
an organization that sent me on three-month stints to help improve paper or pulp
operations in other countries. I worked in Brazil (twice), Egypt, Slovakia, and
Zimbabwe (several times).

Throughout my life I've never been much of a joiner of organizations, churches,
groups, or clubs. I'm so much of a non-joiner that I won't be attending the party that
has been promised for my birthday. Those who knew me and feel inclined to eat,
drink, and say a few final words – good or ill-- are invited to attend.

Also save your pennies on symbolic gestures like flowers which, to me, are wasted
money. If you feel compelled to give something in my memory, donate to Planned
Parenthood of Western Washington or Providence Hospice Care of Snohomish County.

Kids' Addition:

It's hard to be totally forthright when writing about yourself, so we're not going to give
Dad the last word. For starters, it is true our father was quick to declare what he
believed or thought best—usually in an elevated voice. Nonetheless when others
disagreed or acted in a way that defied his logic, he had the humor and grace to accept
people's differences without bitterness or ill will. He rarely judged and he never
harbored a grudge. And while he might question a person's sanity to his face, Dad did
not speak poorly of others behind their backs.

Some people knew our father to be a cheapskate and he cultivated that reputation by
gleaning the food sales each week, fixing possessions with tape and glue, and wearing
the same clothes year after year. He earned a good income and could have matched
the self-indulging purchases of his peers. Instead, he paid for the undergraduate
education of all his children at expensive liberal-arts colleges. He funded the graduate
education of those of us who desired it, helped financially with the education of other
children, helped support the family of his missionary son, and loaned money at belowmarket
rates so his kids could afford homes. He gave generously to charities he
believed in. Our father was stingy with himself, not with others.

Dad was also scrupulously honest, even in those situations wherwhere many of us turn to
white lies for help. Ask him about religion and he'd say, "I don't know if there's a God,
but I also don't know of a better code of behavior than Christ's example or the Golden
Rule."

At least two of us kids remember learning about the Golden Rule in Mexico after we
were hauled before our father for throwing stones at the workers building a home
down the road. The Rule and its principles were patiently explained. We admitted that,
had our positions been reversed, we would not have wanted stones chucked at us. And
then a spanking seared that lesson to memory in a way we two still remember 50
years later.

Every father has anecdotes he's remembered by and here is one of the many that
always raised a laugh in our family. After the creation of a new national holiday, Dad
got in a heated 'discussion' with his kids who enjoyed these 'pseudo' holidays. "We've
got too many darn holidays already," he argued. "What we need is a national get-backto-
work day."

Our father believed in hard work and he did all his jobs well, whether that was making
paper for Scott, cooking for his wife, or raising his kids. We, his children, admire his
many sterling qualities and we laugh together over his storied quirkiness. We will miss
this sometimes odd but unusually wonderful man. And while we will miss him, we
needn't go far to visit him. Whether the cause is nature or nurture, our spouses
comment on our own values and quirky behavior with the quip, "You're just like your
father."

A birthday party to celebrate Dad's life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m., on Saturday,
October 25, 2008, at the family home. We hope to see his friends and neighbors there.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 03:47 AM

Finest last wishes I ever heard was by a local farmer with a somewhat colourful reputation and a large number of anecdotes about his behaviour
"When I die, put me face down in the coffin so they can all come and kiss my arse"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Neil D
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 04:46 AM

Then there was the old boy who went to put an obit for hiw wife in the local paper. When told they charge by the word he told them to print "Ellie Died". When told there was a 5 word minimum he decided on "Ellie Died Bike For Sale".


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 05:02 AM

Heheh. That's a cracker is that one, Neil. You could have embellished it for us Brits by replacing "old boy" with "Yorkshireman." :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 05:09 AM

My great Auntie Florence, dead these last fifty years or more, is reputed to have looked ruefully into the grave of Auntie Smith, the woman who'd looked after my dad when he was a little boy but who Florence had never got on with, and said with a shake of the head, "Eee, Auntie, tha were a bad 'un but I'm sorry tha's gone..."


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 05:17 AM

Wasn't it the estimable Dave Swarbrick who opened the newspaper one morning, only to read his own obituary?

Did Swarbie read the Telegrope?


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 10:07 AM

Front of shirt: where the hell is Grinnell? Back: Who the hell cares?

I had a friend went there.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 07:56 PM

No, it was Eric Bogle: unless there's more than one such incident. Apparently Tony Blair (remember him?) had said that "No Man's Land" was one of his favourite songs, "written by a young man who died in WW1". Eric loved to tell the tale at his gigs! (Eric is no relation of mine, btw!)


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 03:04 AM

There is a woman named Heather Lende in the small town of Haines, Alaska, about a 5 hour ferry ride from here in Juneau who has written the obits for their local paper for years, and several books, including one called "If You Lived Here, I Would Know Your Name". Good writer.

She got me thinking one day and I decided to see if I could write a coherent obit for myself. I gave it up, shortly after the birth and (purported) death dates. Has anyone else here tried it?


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: BobL
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 03:05 AM

There was considerable embarrassment for The Daily Telegraph newspaper when in April 1999 it published a premature obituary for Swarbrick after he was admitted to hospital with a chest infection. He commented, "It's not the first time I've died in Coventry."
Cribbed from Wiki


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mr Red
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 04:57 AM

Yes and Swarbie had copyright permission to sell copies of his Obit at gigs. I guess the Telegrope had to let him after that.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Charmion
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 09:38 AM

I have written obits, and I always read them.

One of the main uses of an obit is to identify for the community the closest relatives and friends of the deceased, and the reach of the extended family. Thus, a reader of the Ottawa Citizen might see a familiar family name, check the age at death, and scan the list of survivors to see if the deceased is, indeed, the parent of that kid who spent Grade 6 in the hallway in 1964. A little more detail shows that the horrible kid of 1964 managed to marry and produce a family of his/her own, and is still on this side of the sod.

This information may or may not comfort the reader, but it at least rounds out one's perception of the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 10:20 AM

The good stuff that men do lives after them;
The bad is oft interréd with their bones...

[Shilliam Wakespeare, commenting about obituaries]


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Neil D
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 06:12 AM

Actually Steve, the way I heard the joke the old miser was a Scot. I was just trying to be politically correct.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 09:47 AM

As a Lancashire lad I'd plump for the Yorkshireman interpretation every time, Neil. In the immortal words of the Oldham Tinkers, when standing on Owdham Edge:

Neaw we’re touchin’ Yorkshire’s line,
Aw can’t see owt past theer—but grime.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Newport Boy
Date: 27 Sep 19 - 12:01 PM

There was considerable embarrassment for The Daily Telegraph newspaper when in April 1999 it published a premature obituary for Swarbrick after he was admitted to hospital with a chest infection. He commented, "It's not the first time I've died in Coventry."

Yes and Swarbie had copyright permission to sell copies of his Obit at gigs. I guess the Telegrope had to let him after that.


I think the full story is that the Telegraph published the obit, which amused Swarb, so he had copies printed to sell at his gigs. He then received a 'cease and desist' letter from the Telegraph's lawyer, threatening action for breach of copyright.

He asked them to try and continued selling the copies.

Phil


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 11:16 AM

I am afraid to write my obit. Sounds suicidal to me. Not the act, me.


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Subject: RE: BS: obituaries - their uses...
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 Sep 19 - 06:30 PM

I wrote an obituary for my best friend when I thought he was dead. He got to read it, because he wasn't.


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