Obituaries Go Viral As They Become More Personal

20150415_124738_16978524838_oObituaries tend to be dry — filled with ‘just the facts’ — because they are designed to provide only a glimpse into a person’s life. In recent years the trend is changing as individuals seek to add their own personality to the final words written about them.

In U.S. newspapers over the weekend, the Associated Press ran a story about some of the lighter moments included in today’s newspaper obituaries. For example, in the April 13, 2015 obituary for staunch Republican Larry Upright of North Carolina, his obituary ends with the line:

“The family respectfully asks that you do not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. R.I.P. Grandaddy.”

Of course, with a contentious presidential election already getting underway, his obituary went viral. But these personal lines inside obituaries have become so popular that Legacy, the company that archives obituaries online, has created a funny obituaries page.

Included in the compiled list is the obituary for 67-year-old Christian Louis Hacker, who left,

“…behind a hell of a lot of stuff his wife and daughter have no idea what to do with. So, if you’re looking for car parts for a Toyota, BMW, Triumph, Dodge or Ford between the years of about 1953-2013, or maybe half a dozen circular saws, still in their boxes with the Home Depot receipts attached, you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch. But this is not an ad for a used parts store, this is an obituary for a great man, generous landlord, committed husband and adoring father…”

But it was another North Carolina man, Thomas Taylor, whose final request tops the list in my opinion. Taylor, who possibly felt he had been cheated in life, wanted to make sure he was not taken advantage of in his death. Eight years before he died, Taylor paid for his funeral proceedings — commonly known as a prearranged funeral —  but his concern was he had overpaid for the service. His obituary included this line which noted Taylor’s last wishes was for someone to:

“…contact the Cremation Society to ask for a refund because he knew he weighed at least 20 percent less than when he paid for his arrangements.”

It didn’t mention, though, who should receive the refund.

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