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Died Doing What He Loved

Published: 5/14/2011

Don Kilpack (Salt Lake Tribune)Don Kilpack always joked that he'd been born 50 years too late, as he loved everything about "cowboy" life; the mountains, desert, camping, fishing and horses, according to his family-prepared obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune.

The photos accompanying the obit – one from his youth, the other more recent – show him looking the part of a cowboy and/or rockabilly singer.

Although his family didn’t say, “He died doing what he loved,” it was clear this was the case.

They wrote: Don was born singing and had a beautiful base voice. He was listening to Marty Robbins when he passed away.

Somehow, stating that a person died doing what he/she loved gives us comfort. We like to hold on to the notion that our loved one must have been exceedingly happy as he/she left the planet.

What else did they love?

Well, Jeff Blaum, a native of New Orleans, read the Bible daily and sought to live life in Christ's image of humility and service to others.

In his obituary published in the Times-Picayune on April 25, his family reported that Blaum suffered a massive heart attack while reading the Bible.

For Howard Albert Tanner, 79, a native of North Adams, MA, it was farming.

His obit in the North Adams Transcript says Tanner passed away while working at his farm doing what he loved best.

Unfortunately, some folks die as a result of doing what they loved best.

Gregory Seftick M.D., 31, died during the night of April 16-17 in an avalanche in the beautiful Teton Mountains.

His obituary in the Pioneer Press says: He was an experienced backcountry skier and mountaineer. He died with his friend, Walker Kuhl, doing what he loved most.

Edward Francis L'Hommedieu loved flying. He died April 10, 2011,when his plane clipped a tree, then flipped and landed on a house, engulfed in flames.

His obit in the Portland Press Herald (Maine) says: He left this world doing what he loved.

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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.

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