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Lives Told Well: The Best Obituaries

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Lives Told Well: The Best Obituaries

When it comes to obituaries, celebrities tend to grab the headlines. But every day obituary writers around the world find the extraordinary in the lives of ordinary people. Here’s a sampling of some of the best obituaries we’ve read recently.


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A brilliant and complicated man

How well do we know our nearest and dearest? A sister writes about her accomplished older brother and the many things she discovered about him after his death. It's a fascinating read.  

A man of unshakable conviction

Dad, like a type-cast character in a play, stepped from one type of service into another. Seamless somehow, he went from protecting and serving his country to protecting and serving his community.

My Dad became a Police Officer of the Reno Police Department when Reno was but a small town on an important road in the West, before the Interstate Highway System was real or gravel streets were thought worthy of paving and when individual, extraordinary men owned the glitzy casinos, and not corporations. Read more

"To my dear departed father"

With immense courage, you left everything you had known the first 41 years of your life, to begin from scratch in another country for the sake of your children's future.

In my grief, I am shaken by the totality of you. Your unquestionable love for your family. Your love of music. Your life-long love of learning. Your acceptance of everyone and refusal to judge or dismiss anyone. How much you enjoyed being with people, hearing and telling funny stories. I cannot stop hearing the sound of your laugh. The more I hear it, the harder I cry... Read more 

Pioneering Tupperware manager Emma Lee Lewis 

Emma Lee Lewis was a closer. “Every woman out there can use something in my Tupperware bag,” she’d say. “I just need to find out what it is.” Read more

From U.S. internment to Korean War POW, Billy Kazuyoshi Hatano was a survivor 

“He spent seven of his first 23 years behind bars, first for being Japanese and then for being a U.S. soldier,” said his son, Brian Hatano. Read more

Frank ‘Boom’ Boomer used money to ‘pay it forward’ 

Sometimes when Erin Boomer was paying the bills, she couldn’t figure out why the checkbook balance was low. It turned out her husband Frank had dipped into the money to help out somebody who was behind on their mortgage or medical bills. Read more

Entrepreneur Elliott Royce was a remarkable retiree

At age 96, Elliott Royce attended trampoline class three times per week. The hobby fit with his retirement routine of falling five times every morning — just for practice. Read more

Pioneering educator at Pittsburgh schools

"Helen Faison was the woman we all wanted to be when we grew up," Pittsburgh public school superintendent Linda Lane said. "She was smart, she was kind, and she had a heart for children." Read more

School nurse Elva Reichenberger cared for needy children

Kids would line up out the door to see their school nurse, Elva Reichenberger, who always took the time to let them know they were loved. Read more

Hotel owner created Christmas lights extravaganza, enriched charities

Dick Richards was a successful businessman and hotelier, but his real passion was decorating for Christmas each year. Read more

Iva Withers, a Standby to the Rescue on Broadway 

If there were a Tony Award for best understudy, Iva Withers might well have won repeatedly during her nearly three decades on Broadway. Though she appeared in the first Broadway run of musicals like "Carousel," "Oklahoma!" and "Guys and Dolls," she never originated a starring role of her own. Read more