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In Obituaries, Dr. Seuss Quotes Reflect Life's Magic

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5 times when Dr. Seuss's words showed up in an unexpected place: the obituary section.

Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, transcends the title of "children's author." His books appeal to adults as well as children, and they have become cultural touchstones. Among the silliness that youngsters love, there are insights that resonate with readers of all ages.

Some love Dr. Seuss so much that they've added his quotes to an unexpected place: obituaries. There, his sayings appear alongside mentions of marriages and pinnacle achievements, reflecting a personal philosophy or perhaps just adding a bit of levity to a time of loss.


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Here are a few times when Dr. Seuss quotes showed up in obituaries.

Olive Elizabeth Amelung "had the best cuddles," according to her obituary. The mother of six called her 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren her "itty-bitties," and they remember her "softly rubbing our arm and asking, 'And who is taking care of YOU?'" and then reading her favorite book, Dr. Seuss's "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?"

That book in part reads,

"When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do…
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you're really quite lucky!"

And it's clear that Olive Amelung's "itty bitties" were quite lucky to have her in their lives.

Yvonne "Voni" D. Hurt, who died of cancer at only 52 in 2015, was a teacher who inspired her students, a loving mother and grandmother, and a friend known as "sunshine on a rainy day." Her obituary recounts an image she shared in the months before her death:

"This is what I live by, (and) I want my daughter, granddaughter (and) all of my students to live by it as well," wrote Yvonne in a Facebook post last May, accompanied by a photo with a quote from Dr. Seuss that read: "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" Yvonne added, "I bet a bunch of amazing (and) accomplished individuals will result from an attitude like this!" 

 

Anne Z. "Tia" Schilling, a retired teacher and librarian, died just eight weeks after her husband of 58 years in what may have been a case of "broken heart syndrome." Her children and grandchildren recalled the books she loved to read to them in a remembrance of her, including Seuss' Oh the Places You'll Go:

"As a teacher and librarian, Tia did noble work. She understood Dr. Seuss' words:
'You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.'

Things did happen to our brainy and footsy Tia."

"I can hear Tia now, saying (from Seuss):
'Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!'
(and for you, Anne Schilling, 100 percent guaranteed.)"

Though Eric Verbeke was a federal agent and a U.S. Air Force veteran, he was known for a Dr. Seuss quote:

"I've heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead some come from behind. But I've bought a bat, I'm all ready you see! Now my problems are going to have problems with me!"

The quote comes from one of Seuss' lesser-known works, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, a book published in 1965 that reminds readers that problems are better dealt with than run away from.

Vanessa Dale Prevost survived cancer at 18 and went on to live a long, busy life. Of the various things she did, her "favorite job was her family," and when she died in 2015, she was survived by her husband, children, a grandchild and a great-grandchild. Staying busy, especially with children, has a way of making the time fly by, and her obituary begins with a poem, commonly attributed to Seuss, that sums up that feeling when you suddenly realize years have passed so quickly you've barely noticed it:

"How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before its afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness, how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?"

 


Related Reading:

20 Facts About Dr. Seuss

New Tributes to Dr. Seuss and Jim Henson