Monday, September 15, 2008


NCA_91_FerndaleWhenever I pick up a local newspaper, I read the obituaries. If the obits are broken down by town, then I look for particular towns, if not, I just scan the listings. I'm always thrilled when I don't read my own name; I guess that means I made it another day.

Death comes, for most, when we least expect it. One day you're here; the next day, people are reading about you in the paper. Some obituaries are short and to the point:

Bob Upslaker died last Tuesday, July 17. He was 84 years old. Services are pending.

Some obituaries are LONG.

Life-long Bochachita, KS resident Bob Upslaker passed from this life on July 17, 2006 after a lengthy battle with psoriasis. He was a pillar of the community, having served as a Deacon AND Elder in his church. He taught the 9th grade boys Sunday School class for 55 years and was on the Finance, as well as Building and Grounds Committees at Church of God in Jesus Christ Our Savior Independent Baptist Church (Est. 1912).

Bob was a member of the Kiwanis, Civitans, and was the Sargeant at Arms of the Bochachita Garden Club; he also served as Grand Marshal of the Bochachita Founders Day Parade. In 1998, Bob was named "Man of the Year" by the Sweetwater County Chamber of Commerce for his participation in their annual aluminum recycling drive.

Bob was preceeded in death by his wife, Bernice. He is survived by three adult children- Joe, John, and Jeremiah, two dogs- Pepper and Scotty of the home, and one cat- Mr. Whiskers.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 2:00 PM at Crosby-Still-Nash-Young-Merrill Lynch-Sakowitz Funeral Home Chapel.

Some obituaries don't go as planned. I remember hearing about a funeral/memorial service where the obituary was interrupted by the "mourners." It seems that the deceased wasn't a regular church attender, so the memorial was held in the funeral home chapel with a minister that was hired to do the service. Since the dead man was virtually unknown to the pastor, he did the best he could--given the situation--by interviewing a few "friends/co-workers" and relying heavily on the obit that appeared in the paper.

About half-way through the service, the minister stated something like: "In talking with some of his (the deceased's) co-workers, many of them spoke about what a kind, generous man he was." The words had no sooner left the minister's mouth when from the back of the sparsely filled room came: "Oh, bull crap! He was the most selfish &%*$#@ I've ever met!!!" Before the minister could gain his composure, one of the FAMILY MEMBERS stood up on the front row and shouted, "Yeah! He never was generous. In fact, he was the most selfish #$%*&^!!** I've every known!" From there, it was utter chaos as one after another, family members and attendees yelled and shouted some of the most vile, hateful things about the deceased man. After what must have seemed like an eternity, the funeral home director rushed to the front of the chapel, declared the "service" OVER and sent everyone home. I don't think there was a graveside.

I hope my obituary goes better than that...of course, not any time soon.

1 comment:

Rick Frueh said...

I have done many funerals. I had to do a joint funeral with an unsaved ex-husband who mudered the wife and then killed himself. A real challenge.

But when I did one funeral for a stranger a friend informed me he would like to say a few words. Right before my words he stood up in front and shared how great this guy was in "picking up chicks", and that he could consume more beer than anyone he ever met. Fill in the blanks about about all that, then he sat down and I shared from the Word after that opening act!