Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over nine years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” In this blog post, Duncan searches GenealogyBank’s recent obituaries collection and discoveries some truly interesting – and sometimes funny – passages in some of these obituaries.
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 Obituary Archives.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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!
Do you have a touching or funny obituary you’ve come across in your genealogy research? If so please share your obituary finds with us in the comments.
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