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Home-Grown "Glee"

Published: 4/29/2011

Bill Thomas (The News-Herald)I wrote an obit for Bill Thomas, a high school choir director in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, whose former students compare him to Mr. Schuester on the TV show Glee and Mr. Holland from the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus.

This obituary, posted on the Cleveland Heights Patch March 29, 2011, is a good example of how an obit can be compiled largely from blogs, social media and the guest books that accompany obits online.

At last count, the guest book included with his family-placed obituary had 125 comments on it. Most feature strong personal memories of Thomas and are a joy to read.

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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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