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What Makes a Scrapbook-Worthy Obituary?

Updated on January 31, 2016

Think about it. More often than any other news story, obituaries are cut out of newspapers around the world and preserved for generations to come in family journals and scrapbooks.Locate an obituary that stands out to you. Perhaps the person is a celebrity or someone you know. Perhaps the obituary touched your heart. What made the obituary stand out for you and explain what you think it takes to write a family scrapbook-worthy obituary.

An obituary is a death notice that is typically written by funeral homes or family members, obituaries for prominent citizens are often written by reporters, typically published in newspapers or online media (Harrower, 2013, p. 96). Obituaries should include the person’s name, a phrase that identifies the person, the person’s age, the date of death, the death place, and cause of death, birthdate, birthplace, background information, the level of education, who the person is survived by, and funeral/burial information (Harrower, 2013, p. 96). To be considered scrapbook worthy an obituary should include an element that sets it apart from other obituaries; this element could be something like a call for action or a request for donations to a favored charity in the person’s honor. While researching obituaries I came across a scrapbook-worthy obituary for Lillian B. Wood; Lillian B. Wood’s obituary reads:

  • Lillian B. Wood, age 92, of Forest Hill, MD, died on March 31, 2009 at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium, MD.
  • Born in Trappe, MD, daughter of the late Rene Bunce and Mattie Elizabeth Daughton Lackey and wife of Richard Orville Wood.
  • She was a member of Dublin United Methodist Church and Rebecca Lodge.
  • She made clothing for Indian children and unwed mothers.
  • Survived by her son, George Arnold Montgomery and wife, Shirley; her daughter, Beverly Wehry; grandchildren
  • Instead of flowers, a contribution can be made to Dublin United Methodist Church(McComas Funeral Home, 2009).

Lillian B. Wood’s obituary is a family scrapbook-worthy obituary because it has most of the required elements of an obituary. Lillian B. Wood’s obituary states: her name, identification, age, date and place of death, her birth place, her background, and who she was survived by. The obituary did not include cause of death or her funeral/burial information; however the family may have decided to simply keep this information private, in which case the obituary did include all relevant elements. I personally liked the fact that Lillian B. Wood’s obituary was brief in comparison to other obituaries I looked at. I appreciated how this obituary gave the relevant information about Lillian B. Wood without using any flowery phrases.

Lillian B. Wood’s obituary stood out to me because of her charitable contributions both in life and in death. Lillian B. Wood’s obituary interested me because of how the obituary ended with a request that people abstain from sending flowers and instead make a contribution to the Dublin United Methodist Church (McComas Funeral Home, 2009). I found this to be a unique way to end the obituary; I also approved of it as dead people do not really need flowers and, based on Lillian B. Wood’s obituary, she seemed like the type of person who would rather people spend their money helping others instead of buying useless flowers for her when she was deceased.

References

Harrower, Tim. Inside Reporting, 3rd Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2013

McComas Funeral Home. (2009). Lillian Wood Obituary. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from
http://www.mccomasfuneralhome.com/obituary/Lillian-B.-Wood/Forest-Hill-
MD/653435

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