I hadn’t planned on this being a series when I started talking about obits, but after my last post on the subject – What’s Not in an Obituary – October 30, 2019, I reviewed my notes on the topic and realized there are some other things to consider. I don’t know how long the series will be, but as I dig through my notes and thoughts, I may have a few more posts on the topic.
While I am thinking about it, consider your obit and check into pricing, both through the funeral home and any newspapers you want it to appear in. Same for the free and paid obit sites out there. See how long the funeral home will keep it up.
As I mentioned in the above link, my friend’s Aunt Penny and her first husband’s obituaries did not mention the marriage or name the first spouse. With my earlier post, Is It a Given Name or Nickname? – October 30, 2019, my other friend’s father-in-law’s obituary did not include a lot of children he had fathered. As DNA testing continues to grow in popularity, more children will probably show up.
In addition, often family gets left out for various reasons. A friend was given an obituary prepared by her aunt who wants to publish it once my friend dies. The obituary leaves out my friend’s sister and the aunt has no plans to add her name in the obituary.
If you haven’t paid attention to newspaper obits lately, they are getting smaller and many people only have a free death notice. The cost to add an obit to a newspaper has skyrocketed. It can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a lot more in a bigger newspaper. Some funeral homes will put a longer obituary on their website, often with a photo, and submit a smaller obit, often without a photo, to the local newspaper. Other funeral homes have chosen to only put the obits on their website. However, how long they stay up on the funeral home’s website varies widely, anywhere from a few days, three months, six months, a year, two years. In very rare cases, a funeral home keeps it up permanently. In most cases, by three months, the obits are removed although some will keep them up 6 months to 2 years.
There are some obituary sites that will let you add an obit. A few of the sites are free, but most cost money. One charges around $100 to permanently add an obit. Legacy.com – https://www.legacy.com/, a popular obituary site keeps the obits up based on whatever contract they have with a newspaper. They often offer ways to keep the obit up longer. It ranges from $2.95 for bringing it back for 24 hours, and $38.00 for permanent sponsorship. They had a third option which was 1 year renewal for $29.95, but permanent sponsorship was $79.95 back then. I am glad they lowered the price on making it permanent as $79.95 was a bit much.
Another problem is when people are listed as living who died before the person in the obit. In my case, my Aunt Eleanor’s obit mentioned she had one surviving sibling, her brother Cyril (the same Cyril I talked about recently – My Uncle’s Connection to USCGC Bramble – October 22, 2019. The siblings and their families hadn’t kept in contact for at least a year as Uncle Cyril had died a year before Aunt Eleanor. She lived in Colorado and he lived in the Florida Panhandle.
Next is an odd topic – conflicting obits. In this case, obits put out by different individuals for the same person. The most unusual I have seen so far in this category is Leroy “Blast” Bill Black – https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/obituaries/search/?q=Leroy+Black&t=article&d1=&c%5B%5D=obituaries%2Cobituaries%2Flocalobituaries&nsa=eedition. The August 5th obits were next to each other in the newspaper. One paid for by his wife and the other by his mistress. For some strange reason, the wife left out the mistress in her version of the obit, and the mistress left out the wife in her version of the obit.