How do you write an obituary?

I don’t know but I am charged with writing one.

My husband’s father is 98 years old and according to my sister-in-law, the nurse, is failing.  You just always think they will be there and then one day, they aren’t.  As a genealogist I am comforted by the fact that I value the stories and the recognition of the existance of the people who have come and gone before me.  I hope that there is someone in the future who will trace their genealogy and find my little remenants of existance that I have scattered across the country (not much in the way of census records, however!)

It’s not time to be maudlin; he has had a great life with his fair share of challenges and successes.

Steve is our daughter Anne’s last living grandparent.  It’s kind of sad that in our family we get married late, do not have many children and those we do have come late in the marriage.  No great grandchildren for the 98 year old! Only six grandchildren and none of them are even married.

Some notable accomplishment and experiences of Steve, my father-in-law, include:

  • being born to an immigrant family.  Pictures of his mother indicate that he takes after that side of the family….seriously!  🙂
  • deciding to go to college.  His parents had an 8th grade education.  Why would a kid decide to go to college?
  • deciding to go to Iowa State University to college….he lived in CT and thought that it was probably close.  After driving for 3 days, he wondered what he had gotten into (it’s a good thing he did, otherwise his son, my husband, would not have gone to ISU and we never would have met!)  Amazingly, he joined a fraternity and graduated in Dairy Science.
  • going into the US Army in heavy artillery and landing on the beaches of Normandy in the afternoon.  He would not talk about the horrors he saw; he couldn’t do it.
  • visiting his Italian relatives after the war and realizing they had nothing.  He left everything he had but the clothes he wore with them when he left.
  • meeting his wife while drunk one evening; she was not impressed (Molly was an army nurse stationed in Nice, France)
  • realizing she was worth it, he traveled across the US to meet up with her in Wisconsin.  They got married and had five kids.
  • becoming a route manager for milk delivery only to lose his job when the service was stopped (not unique to the present day).  For some reason he saved all his application letters; there is a justifiable tone of desperation in them.
  • getting a job with State Farm as an adjuster and continuing the job for 20+ years.
  • “forgetting” his age so he could continue to work into his 70’s, well past the mandatory retirement age….he was “busted” when he declared how old he was to his younger brother….an age that made him younger than his younger brother!
  • suffering through the death of his wife who seemed to have a desire to die earlier than anyone wanted her to.
  • living alone for many years and then having a nephew come to college in Tulsa and live with him “to save money”
  • moving to San Antonio to live with his daughter and family.  They are a nurturing family who cares deeply about a dignified exit from this corporeal world
  • watching the deer out the back door, having people who care for him make sure he eats and takes care of himself.

It’s been a good life.

Happy Father’s Day!


What I have done since the last post:  completed Susan’s project and will put it in the mail tomorrow.  Her mother was a good friend of my mother’s.  It was an honor to work on it.  I am starting to think about the research I will do when I am in Chicago.  Need to connect with Karen to coordinate our visit.


One comment on “How do you write an obituary?

  1. Allen says:

    How do you write an obituary? I think you just did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s