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Obituaries?
Old 01-24-2017, 01:46 PM   #1
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Obituaries?

This thread: Recollection of your career got me thinking about a pseudo related topic: obituaries.

Being that I am fairly young, I don't put much thought into them; But, my Dad is approaching 90 years old and as a matter of habit, everyday he checks the obits of his hometown to see if anyone he knew has died (he says jokingly that he wants to see if HE is still alive!) and has been printing out and keeping them for many years. Recently, two of his "Sunday Drinking" buddies have passed on and I couldn't help but notice how their obits were SOOO different.

Obit #1 Was for a man that was nearing 85 years old and died somewhat unexpectedly and he had a VERY interesting life. He was a newspaper editor for a very large paper and held public office for a number of years. After public office, he w*rked for a while longer (to maximize a pension) but retired before he was 58. He then went on to do some amazing traveling and lived abroad for a number of years. He had very good stories, but they almost ALL revolved his years AFTER he retired. The obit was a very short and simple date, age and that was about it. Nothing more than a public death notice that would satisfy probate requirements. And...that's the way he wanted it.

Obit #2 Was for a younger man (early 70s) that had a fairly successful business career. It wasn't very exciting (his career) and the last few years he did head hunting and consulting in the marketing arena. He talked about w*rk INCESSANTLY and it was boring to listen to. Not just "a little boring" but it was...well, terrible. He had been fighting cancer for the better part of 15 years and eventually it took over his body. His obit had a little information on where he was born and his family, but the vast majority (and I mean 12 of 15 paragraphs) was about his career....and it read as boring as his w*rk stories were to listen to. Overall, I found it sad to read a lengthy obit that was really nothing more than a LinkedIn profile. After reading it, I told my DW that under NO circumstance should my obit look ANYTHING like his.

Anyway...I think it just goes to show that for some people, your w*rk (or vocation as some might say) is what makes YOU, well, YOU. And I very, VERY fortunate to say that w*rk has NOT defined me and thus, I would hope to have a very short, sweet obit.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:07 PM   #2
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One factor could be that in many cities these days the newspaper charges by the word and obituaries (as opposed to simple death notices) can be quite expensive.
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Obituaries?
Old 01-24-2017, 02:08 PM   #3
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Obituaries?

I wrote DH's obituary. First, let me say those darn things are expensive!
The newspaper charged about $2/word. I barely mentioned his career- it was more about how he was a wonderful husband and stepfather, baked great cookies and was the best of travel companions. I included a picture in the funeral home version (that was free); he was in Reykjavik enjoying a can of Gull (Icelandic for gold), the local beer.

People whose newspaper obits go on for columns must have more money than I do.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:30 PM   #4
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One factor could be that in many cities these days the newspaper charges by the word and obituaries (as opposed to simple death notices) can be quite expensive.
Interesting that you mention that. The man for which Obit #1 was written was very good with his money. We often had discussions about good money management in retirement and especially early retirement. The man in Obit #2? Well...not so good with $ and maybe that is why he was so attached to his career...

When did the obit for Mom, it was fairly short but told a nice story of where she came from, her family and her hobbies. If I recall, it was about $150 for two newspapers (back in 2013).
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:34 PM   #5
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One factor could be that in many cities these days the newspaper charges by the word and obituaries (as opposed to simple death notices) can be quite expensive.
It apparently has become a revenue stream for them. While I realize that advertising income is leaving newspapers, price-gouging on obits is more than a little tacky.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:39 PM   #6
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My FIL's obit went in the paper today. Yes, it was expensive. Medium length and told his life story rather than talk about his career. No picture. I think it captured the right balance. Will make sure mine is short and sweet.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:44 PM   #7
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MIL's obit was expensive too
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:47 PM   #8
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What is the point of an obit anyway? Anyone who is involved in my life will know when it happens, otherwise who cares?
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:58 PM   #9
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sometimes we lose touch with people - unfortunately I found out a few of those I used to w*rk with back in the day passed only because of their obits
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:08 PM   #10
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The second guys obit (and life) might have been boring to you but if he enjoyed his life and career, I say who are we to judge ?

Some people enjoy working. It defines them and makes them happy. Aren't we all just trying to be happy in the end ? Travelling and having multiple careers might impress you but it wouldn't do much for other people.

In other words, being happy is more important than keeping up with (or impressing) the Joneses.
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:16 PM   #11
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Hell, I don't want an obit, I want a mulligan.
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:46 PM   #12
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:14 PM   #13
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What is the point of an obit anyway? Anyone who is involved in my life will know when it happens, otherwise who cares?
Only a very small percentage of people put obits in the paper. You do lose touch with people and the obit closes the "loop" I guess.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:19 PM   #14
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Social media and the internet add new avenues of exposure for obituaries, and at little or no cost. Now they can reach much a much wider and geographically disperse audience.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:30 PM   #15
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Only a very small percentage of people put obits in the paper. You do lose touch with people and the obit closes the "loop" I guess.
DH and I subscribed to the paper for a long time and to us, a newspaper obituary was just what you did. As MichaelB noted, though, there are other outlets and I believe that actually printing them in papers is dying out. Dad was so ticked off at what their local podunk paper wanted to run Mom's full obituary that he listed only a very short one with a link to the funeral home's free one! After delivery problems, DH and I had cancelled our subscription and I was buying the paper most days at the grocery store next to the gym I use daily. Well, except for Saturday, which was a "special" edition and was $2. Then they trimmed Monday and Tuesday down to one section. I don't get it anymore- what they charged to run the obit was the last straw.

One mildly annoying thing that happened with DH's obit- the local freebie paper grabbed the big city paper version, cut it down a bit, and ran it. (I know that it was the newspaper version because the funeral home version had a correction of an error that the print version still had.) So, I write a heartfelt obituary, I pay $500 to run it, and they get to "borrow" it and not even tell me? I assume it was OK with the big city paper.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:55 PM   #16
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I'm to be cremated and no service (prepaid). I don't need an obituary as I'm sure facebook will let people know I'm gone. If you hadn't been in touch with me in years then I'm sure you won't care one way or the other
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:07 PM   #17
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I'm to be cremated and no service (prepaid). I don't need an obituary as I'm sure facebook will let people know I'm gone. If you hadn't been in touch with me in years then I'm sure you won't care one way or the other
Don't bet on it--I get Facebook emails "from" dead people asking me to be their friend.

I notice most obituaries in our big city paper are dates, places, and family--probably enough for a genealogist to research for a family tree one day. I do like the longer ones that give a feel for what the person was like. I noticed one captain of industry's obituary dealt more with the charitable work he did, and included the fact that he had been a daily communicant his entire life (meaning he went to Mass every morning).
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:52 PM   #18
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Slightly off topic, but since I'm a vegan, but have eaten many animals in the past, I wanted to to be chopped up and ground for the pigs and cows to eat me.

Since that's not allowed, UCI gets cadaver me.

As far as my obit, it'll be as boring as 99.99% of them.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:38 PM   #19
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Who reads newspapers these days anyway? Why go through the expense of an Obit in a paper? Send an Obit to friends and family via e-mail and attach a photo. Or use Facebook!
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:15 PM   #20
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A lot of people read newspaper obits. After we ran my mother's, we got lots of calls from old neighbors and friends in other cities.

Also, we discovered that even though they charge by the word, some papers will rewrite to their style, which may be less polished than the original you send them. Then others pick up the online versions and may make additional clumsy changes. Nothing you can do about it and the online versions likely stay out there for quite a long time.
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