An Honest Obituary

Bill Lambie (Toronto Star)The obituary for W.J. “Bill” Lambie, published in the Toronto Star, says Lambie acquired his love of the outdoors from growing up in a forested lake area and his love of books from his father.

His creativity and commanding classroom presence revealed a natural teacher sealing his lifelong commitment to education. His perceptiveness quickly thrust him into administration.

After all the cause-and-effect commentary and details about the career of this 74-year-old educator, who lived near Minden, Ontario, the family throws the reader a curve ball:

He could precisely articulate models of decision making, yet forget the punch line to any joke. He loved music and regretted his inability to carry a tune. Golf was a self-inflicted wound; despite a fickle drive ‘Minden Rules’ somehow always rescued his scorecard.

A good obituary should contain the deceased’s quirks and foibles as well as his or her accomplishments.


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.