Monday, September 14, 2009


I have been reading the obituaries in my local paper for years. Perhaps since I became a newspaper journalist back in 1975, news about people has always fascinated me and never more than in the obituaries can we learn the fine details of a person's life.

Most obits contain information that includes the usual details, date of birth, place of birth and relatives both dead and surviving. But since newspapers began charging for obits, they have allowed survivors to include whatever facts they want to pay for -- by column length.

So now we have a wealth of information never before included in an obit. Take this paragraph from a departed man's obit:
"It was his personal philosophy that one's civic duty is to make plain what your thoughts are on the affairs of state. To sum up this sentiment, the ancient Greek statesman Pericles said, 'Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.'"

Such an opinion we now have of this individual, that he not only was a civic-minded man but his descendants felt a need to let the world know in this way.

I'll be posting lines from obits on a daily basis. Please feel free to send me items you find by emailing them from the publishing party. Nota bene: This is not a place to make fun of the departed. Typos are not encouraged.


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