Truly Personal Obituaries

July 2, 2015  - by 

Writing an obituary can be a painful and unexpected event. It can also be a healing one. More and more families are rejecting a dry, formulated writing style for their loved one’s obituary, taking instead a more personalized approach. It is challenging to compact a person’s life into a few lines. It is even more difficult to try to convey that person’s unique sense of being onto the printed page. Here are some marvelous examples of more personalized obituaries; I found these while browsing in GenealogyBank’s Recent Obituaries collection.

Obit 1
Humorous Life Philosophy

Sometimes an obituary shares a person’s philosophy. Donna Smith’s obituary passed on this humorous life philosophy:

“Do what’s right and do what’s good. Be kind and help others. The world can always use one more kind person. And if you can take it one step further, please do it for people grandpa’s age.”
Donna Smith

Obit 2 Donna

Jokes Help

The family, or even the person themselves, may try to lighten up the situation by making a joke.

In his obituary, Aaron Joseph Purmorts’s family stated that he:

“died peacefully at home on November 25 after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer, who has plagued our society for far too long. Civilians will recognize him best as Spider-Man, and thank him for his many years of service protecting our city. His family knew him only as a kind and mild-mannered Art Director, a designer of websites and t-shirts, and concert posters who always had the right cardigan and the right thing to say (even if it was wildly inappropriate).”

Aaron Joseph Purmort

Obit Aaron 3-B

Unusual Final Requests

Others leave behind unusual requests in their obituaries. B. H. Spratt’s family suggested:

“In lieu of flowers, tune-up your car and check the air pressure in your tires – he would have wanted that.”

B. H. Spratt

 Obit Spratt

Lisa Schomburger Steven’s family asked:

“that you spend time with your children, take a walk on the beach with your loved ones and make a toast to enduring friendships lifelong and beyond. That is what Lisa would wish for you.”

Lisa Schomburger Stevens

 Obit Lisa

Tom Taylor Jr.’s family stated:

“One of his last requests to his good friend Scott, was to contact the Cremation Society to ask for a refund because he knew he weighed at least 20 percent less than when he paid for his arrangements.”

Thomas J. Taylor Jr.

 Obit 6 Thomas

Tom Brady Fan

To make an obituary more personal, family members sometimes add a line about a person’s passions or strongly held beliefs.

Patricia M. Shong was a fervent New England Patriots fan. Her family stated this wish in her obituary:

“She would also like us to set the record straight for her; Brady is innocent!”

Patricia M. Shong: Even in Death, Pats Fan Strong for Brady

Obit 7 Patricia

Patricia’s defense of Tom Brady put a smile on everyone’s face, as reported at the end of her obituary.

Another Football Fan

Michael Sven Vedvik’s family did their best to lighten things up by saying in his obituary:

“We blame the Seahawks lousy play call for Mike’s untimely demise. Mike was greatly loved and will be dearly missed.”

Michael Sven Vedvik

Obit Michael

The Dog Ate It

Norma Brewer’s obituary contained this humorous remark:

“Norma Rae Flicker Brewer, a resident of Fairfield, passed away while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. She never realized her life goal of reaching the summit, but made it to the base camp. Her daughter, Donna, her dog, Mia, and her cats, came along at the last minute. There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia, after Mia ate Mrs. Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks.”

Norma Brewer

Obit Norma Brewer

Losing a loved one is never easy. Helping others to see that person the way you did can help ease your sorrow at their passing. You may even consider helping your family out by writing your own obituary!

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Sources:

Source #1: GenealogyBank.com, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), 18 December 2014

Source #2: GenealogyBank.com, Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 30 November 2014.

Source #3: GenealogyBank.com, Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Florida), 23 October 2011.

Source #4: GenealogyBank.com, Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), 19 December 2005.

Source #5: GenealogyBank.com, Sun News (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina), 27 August 2008.

Source #6: GenealogyBank.com, Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Massachusetts), 24.

Source #7 GenealogyBank.com, Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Massachusetts), 24 May 2015.

Source #8: GenealogyBank.com, Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), 5 February 2015.

Source #9: GenealogyBank.com, Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut), 31 January 2015.

 

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Comments

  1. Can you tell me if you have a time scale for indexing the Holderness Area of the East Riding of Yorkshire

  2. It would be a wonderful thing to see GenealogyBank back in the computer Portals of our FamilySearch Libraries and Family History Centers. Now that we are in partnership with them in the obituaries project, I have hoped that we might get access to them again. Also these regular, outstanding articles showing us how we can use GenealogyBank made it look like my wish might come true. I haven’t given up yet. I’ll keep looking for it.

  3. The point you’re making is good but when it comes to humorous obituaries you should be cautious. Humor can often be lost when it is being read. Those who knew the deceased may be able to “hear” in their heads the tone of voice, the intonation, and the speech mannerisms that the deceased had. Years later, future researchers may not.

    Also, it can be fun to make a joke but probably not about factual items. In the example obituary above of Aaron Joseph Purmort, is the mention of his first wife, Gwen Stefani, factually correct or was he making a joke about being married to the current pop star of the same name? If he was joking, a century from now future researchers may be pulling their hair out looking for a marriage record that doesn’t exist!