Thursday, March 21, 2013

Obituaries Are Best When They Have a Sense of Humor

Condolences go out to the family of Harry Stamps, if Mississppi, who died earlier this month at the age of 80.

I don't know who wrote his obituary, but whoever did knows that a sense of humor, done right, is often appropriate, even in death notices. 

The late, great Harry Stamps.  
Just check out the excerpts, below, that reflect on the life and times of Harry Stamps, who, frankly, I wish I knew. He sounds like a great man, a great character.

The obit gives us some choice glimpses into his life.  Apparently, Stamps was something of a foodie, judging from this information:

"He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna sausages on saltines, his homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread."

He was also something of a fashion plate. Or at least his own version of a fashion plate:

"Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam's on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass stained MSU baseball cap."

Stamps detested  daylight saving time, and his daughter, Amanda Lewis, quoted in the Huffington Post in other news outlets, had this to say:

"He particularly hated Daylight Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil's is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward."   

I hate to call an obituary refreshing, but this one is. It gives a good, honest look at Mr. Stamp's life. And people mourning a death need a bit of comic relief, and it's provided here.

I know people usually use a string of platitudes when describing a person in an obituary. I have no problem with that. People are trying to be respectful and polite. But does everyone who dies of cancer fight a "courageous battle" with the disease?

Does everyone who dies "surrounded by their family" and "go on to meet the Lord" when they pass away?

Again, nothing wrong with saying that, but I hope people take more liberties with language if they choose to assemble my obit when I go. (And I hope that will be a long, long time from now)

Every once in awhile, these cool obits do crop up. Here's another one, for Albert "Lovie" Montanaro Jr. which appeared in the Plattsburgh, N.Y. Press Republican in 2011.

Before he passed, and he had a lot of the same thoughts on obits that I do, and wrote his own sign off. For example, he wrote:

"The part of obituaries that I always found rather tedious is those endless lists of what somebody has decided what the deceased had achieved during his/her lifetime (thereby earning an obituary longer than a list of baseball's box scores)."

I especially love this generous sentiment Montanaro left behind in his obituary.

"In spite of what many of you believed, I'm not so foolish as to think my life made a huge difference in this world. I do, however, know how hard I worked to  make the few "differences" I helped to make. I leave this world truly satisfied and pray the Lord, in His mercy is satisfied with at least MOST of my life."

If only we could all one day look back on our lives and be able to say that.


No comments:

Post a Comment