My Favorite Obituaries
An obituary traditionally is a pre-written death notice with factual information about the deceased. Any myriad of reasons can make an obituary stand out from the rest.
For example, If your loved one was a notorious storyteller how cool would it be to write in their same style? Of course that means knowing your loved one well and what they would want expressed to their town and possibly the world’s stage with their obituary.
Here are some examples of truly creative, honest and courageous obituaries.
They have all touched me in some way. From light heartedness to rage, grief, and honesty; an obituary can truly be whatever you make it.
Please do keep in mind – most newspapers charge per word to print an obituary, in addition anything vulgar, too political or even too untraditional might not get printed in your local paper.
Oliver Wilson McGaw, Jr., Yeadon, PA passed away quietly on November 10, 2020. Oliver was born in West Chester, PA to Oliver Wilson McGaw Sr. and Mary Wheaton McGaw on October 17, 1936. He was educated in the Rosetree Media School District and graduated from Media High School.
Oliver was employed by ACME Markets for several years and he worked at the U.S. Postal Service. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2002. After retirement, he worked part time at Concelli Toyota in Springfield, PA.
In 2003, he met his loving wife, Carol Brooks and they were married on May 22, 2004. Mrs. McGaw states, “He was spontaneous in his humor”, he loved to joke around, he made people laugh.” Mrs. McGaw also states, “I will hold him in my heart until I can hold him in Heaven.” He enlisted in the U. S. Army in November 1958 and served until February 1962. He played 3rd base for the African American Media Invaders Softball team, but he enjoyed all sports!
He was a member of Second Baptist Church and he was a man of great faith. He served faithfully for many years on the Male Chorus and he was a supportive member of the Men’s Ministry. He was also an active participant in Church School and he supported his Pastor and Church. He was a member of the Norbertine Seminary Guild Association for two years. His love for his family and friends was apparent. He will be sorely missed by everyone!
Oliver leaves to mourn his passing, his loving wife, Carol, one son, Tyrone McGaw, Norristown, PA, 4 Sister-in-laws and 3 Brother-in-laws, 2 stepsons, 1 stepdaughter, 11 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews and his 4-legged friend, Buster. Oliver was loved by all of them!
Lovingly Submitted, The Family
Brian Dijon Knox died December 30, 2015 in his apartment in Metarie, LA of a drug related death at the age of 40 years. Brian graduated from Woodlawn High School, played and loved soccer. Brian was the middle child of three boys born to Gwendolyn Watson Knox and Joseph Knox, III. He was this baby born with beautiful gray eyes.
He was blessed with: intelligence, those gray eyes turned to a beautiful hazel, caring heart for the underdog, wit, he never met a stranger that he didn’t find the ability to strike up a conversation with, he was always the life of the party, he burned the candle at both ends and to know him was to love him. But, he was a tormented spirit trying to deal with all of his past choices and there consequences. He just never seemed to get a break, always falling and having to pull himself out of one hole after another. He started experimenting with drugs in his teens and came to think that the only solution to whatever he was dealing with was drugs. They became his go to solution for every problem.
He would say, “I can stop using anytime I want to stop” and there were times he did, but those times never lasted because when he was drug free he had to deal with all of the thoughts going through his head. Coping with life was not a skill that he ever acquired. He looked at everything as one whole pie and could not just take one slice out to work on it. Different treatment modalities were introduced into his life, but the pull of drugs were so strong until he always went back to what he could count on giving him the escape he needed even if it was for a short period of time. He never wanted to look at his addiction as an illness.
As his mother I will miss him so much, but as his mother I will also no longer have to witness his pain or worry about this day coming because it’s here. My one solace is that his tormented spirit has now been released from his body to return to the giver. We loved Brian with every fiber of our being, but none of that love could protect him from this world that we live in were drug are so accessible. They can be purchased online and mailed to your house or bought on the corner.
Love your addict, know that they are sick, but don’t let their sickness make you ill.
If they could this is what they would tell you:
Let Me Fall All By Myself
“If you love me let me fall all by myself. Don’t try to spread a net out to catch me. Don’t throw a pillow under my ass to cushion the pain so I don’t have to feel it. Don’t stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me) … Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the pit … trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can’t see it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me … The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours … the sooner I will arrive … and on time … just right where I need to be … me, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead … resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one … If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for a while … I am free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out.. I just might slide back down, but don’t worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound … Don’t you see ?? Don’t you know?? You can’t do this for me … I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever supposed to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours … I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don’t know what to do and you act from your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me … but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good … don’t clip my wings before I can learn to fly … Nudge me out of your safety net … trust the process and pray for me … that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar.”
I wanted to share this with you because as a mother I made so many mistakes with my son’s addiction. I wanted him to fall on me to cushion his fall, but that was not what he needed. If you have any loved one’s who are fighting addiction, do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.
Goodbye Brian, we love you and miss you so much, life will not be the same without you. Mom, Dad, Shawn, Cardel, Kaleb, and a host of family and friends. Brian will be cremated; a memorial celebration service will be held on his birthday, January 23, 2016. The place is yet to be determined, but will be posted in the paper and on Facebook.
Harry Weathersby Stamps
December 19, 1932 — March 9, 2013
Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies’ man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Harry was locally sourcing his food years before chefs in California starting using cilantro and arugula (both of which he hated). For his signature bacon and tomato sandwich, he procured 100% all white Bunny Bread from Georgia, Blue Plate mayonnaise from New Orleans, Sauer’s black pepper from Virginia, home grown tomatoes from outside Oxford, and Tennessee’s Benton bacon from his bacon-of-the-month subscription. As a point of pride, he purported to remember every meal he had eaten in his 80 years of life.
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.
He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking, eradicating mole crickets from his front yard, composting pine needles, living within his means, outsmarting squirrels, never losing a game of competitive sickness, and reading any history book he could get his hands on. He loved to use his oversized “old man” remote control, which thankfully survived Hurricane Katrina, to flip between watching The Barefoot Contessa and anything on The History Channel. He took extreme pride in his two grandchildren Harper Lewis (8) and William Stamps Lewis (6) of Dallas for whom he would crow like a rooster on their phone calls. As a former government and sociology professor for Gulf Coast Community College, Harry was thoroughly interested in politics and religion and enjoyed watching politicians act like preachers and preachers act like politicians. He was fond of saying a phrase he coined “I am not running for political office or trying to get married” when he was “speaking the truth.” He also took pride in his service during the Korean conflict, serving the rank of corporal–just like Napolean, as he would say.
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.
Harry traveled extensively. He only stayed in the finest quality AAA-rated campgrounds, his favorite being Indian Creek outside Cherokee, North Carolina. He always spent the extra money to upgrade to a creek view for his tent. Many years later he purchased a used pop-up camper for his family to travel in style, which spoiled his daughters for life.
He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words “veranda” and “porte cochere” to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil’s Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.
Because of his irrational fear that his family would throw him a golf-themed funeral despite his hatred for the sport, his family will hold a private, family only service free of any type of “theme.” Visitation will be held at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport on Monday, March 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Jeff Davis Campus) for their library. Harry retired as Dean there and was very proud of his friends and the faculty. He taught thousands and thousands of Mississippians during his life. The family would also like to thank the Gulfport Railroad Center dialysis staff who took great care of him and his caretaker Jameka Stribling.
Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord’s Time.
Photos of great obituaries