Saturday, January 11, 2014

Humour in Obituaries? Who would have thought?

As I have mentioned in an earlier post obituaries are not depressing narratives about the dearly departed - some are full of humour.  In fact there is much humour surrounding obituaries. 

Can you imagine reading your own obituary when it is announced that you have already died - and clearly you haven't.  While the there may be some anger or confusion at such an event it is not uncommon.

Alfred Nobel (yes, the Nobel Prize was named after him) read of his own  demise, when in fact it was his brother who had passed on.

"The creation of the Nobel Prizes came about through a chance event. When Nobel's brother died, a newspaper ran a long obituary of Alfred Nobel, believing that it was he who had passed away. Thus, Nobel had an opportunity granted few people: to read his obituary while alive. What he read horrified him: The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived.

At that moment, Nobel realized two things: that this was how he was going to be remembered, and that this was not how he wanted to be remembered. Shortly thereafter, he established the awards. Today, because of his doing so, everyone is familiar with the Nobel Prize, while relatively few people know how Nobel made his fortune. Shakespeare's Mark Antony was wrong: the good we do lives after us. For most of us, it is the most important thing that we leave behind."

You can read the whole story here.

Harry Weathersby Stamps died in March 2013, and his daughter wrote the obituary.  You can read the whole obituary here.  His obituary went "viral" and has been read with amusement by thousands of people.
The funniest obituary for 2013, apparently, is the obituary for Antonia W. “Toni” Larroux who died from a curious list of ailments.  " lupus, rickets, scurvy, kidney disease and feline leukemia."  Read the full story here
I found online an article about obits - quite a long one - but the headline took my fancy "Funny Obits bring new life to a dying art."   Read the article here   It is well worth a read.  Not all obits are in the papers - I have a collection of books and these days many are recorded in websites.  
The women in his life were numerous. He particularly fancied smart women. He loved his mom Wilma Hartzog (deceased), who with the help of her sisters and cousins in New Hebron reared Harry after his father Walter's death when Harry was 12. He worshipped his older sister Lynn Stamps Garner (deceased), a character in her own right, and her daughter Lynda Lightsey of Hattiesburg. He married his main squeeze Ann Moore, a home economics teacher, almost 50 years ago, with whom they had two girls Amanda Lewis of Dallas, and Alison of Starkville. He taught them to fish, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their tool boxes. One of his regrets was not seeing his girl, Hillary Clinton, elected President. He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna [Vi-e-na] sausages on saltines, his homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens, and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread. - See more at:

Read more here:



Suzy said...

It's an interesting way to look at life from the end perspective and then live it. Something for me to ponder over. Dropping by from UBC.

Nabanita said...

Sometimes I wonder why don't we say all those things when a person is alive? But then I think it's a way of acknowledging a life !

Anonymous said...

never read those humor earlier. nice ones to turn grief moments to some brief smiles.

Caro Ness said...

...humour is often not far from a good obituary...and that's as it should be..

Di Hill said...

Thank you for commenting on my blog.