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Obits Highlight Presidential Picks

Published: 8/21/2012
A recent trend in the obituary pages has prompted us to create our very own, extremely unscientific, presidential poll. Many family-written obituaries published during the 2012 presidential election campaign have included stories about their loved ones’ support for their favorite candidate and/or requests for donations to the candidates’ campaigns. Some offer a quiet mention of the candidate the deceased supported, while others shout an impassioned plea for sanity as the deceased saw it.

As the trend becomes more popular, the obituary section is beginning to look a bit like "Letters to the Editor"… and according to our (really very, very unscientific) research, it looks like President Obama seems to have a slight edge over Romney. But of course, it's too early to call… and we expect to be able to build on our poll with a lot more obituaries like these in the coming months.

 Barbara Woods Penhallegon (The Daily Sentinel)Barbara Woods Penhallegon, who died June 30 at age 87, was very active with Republican Women from an early age and continued to be very politically minded until the end, according to the obit her family prepared for The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction, Colo.

Her family wrote: Her goal was to live long enough to vote... a 'Romney Believe in America' bumper sticker was proudly displayed on her hospital bed!

 Deborah Jane Boyden (The Patriot Ledger)Similarly, the family of Deborah Jane Boyden, who died June 13 at age 78, described her as a staunch liberal Democrat and supporter of President Obama, who followed politics and current events avidly until her dying day, in the obit published in The Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass.



 James W. Dix Sr. (Daily Press)James W. Dix Sr., who died July 9 at age 57, had the high honor of preparing a meal for President Barack Obama while working as head chef at Hampton University, according to the obit in the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Va.

Upon meeting the president, James said "he's the type of guy I would play ball with!"



 Carlton B. Cowan (Daily Press)Published in the same paper was the obit for Carlton B. Cowan, Lt. Col. (retired) USAF, a Romney supporter, who died June 27.

He was happiest when discussing politics and philosophy, as well as art and literature, his family wrote. A lifelong Republican, he served as chairman of the Gloucester Republican Committee for the past two years.

The family suggests contributions be made to Cowan’s church or to the Romney for President Victory Fund.

 Daniel H Haigh (Midland Daily News)Daniel H Haigh, who died June 18 at age 74, was passionate about our nation returning to its founding principles, according to the obit in the Midland (Mich.) Daily News.

Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider a memorial gift to Hillsdale College of Hillsdale, Mich., or voting for Mitt Romney, our only chance to turn away from socialism and begin the long road back to our roots that made this country the greatest nation in the world, his family wrote.

 Barbara “Bobbie” Frances Lytle Benes (Boston Globe)Barbara “Bobbie” Frances Lytle Benes, who died June 21, was one of a kind, according to the obituary her family composed for the Boston Globe.

Vibrant, sassy and independent. Funny, smart and stylish. At 82, she lived life fully and on her own terms, the obit said.

Her family asked that memorial donations be made to Partners In Health or, of course, to the Obama campaign.

Further research into our (incredibly informal and unscientific) poll shows that Dorothy Irby, Roxana Randolph, Franklin Schultz, and many more supported incumbent Obama, while Margaret Friel, Ruth Smith, Richard Koella, and a host of others were rooting for his challenger, Romney.

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the 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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