For genealogists obituaries are like gold mines—rich with veins of ore. As well they are glimpses into a person who lived on this planet traversing the cosmos.
Some obits are short and to the point. Others are crafted by grieving family and friends with a short biography.
This week in the weekly journal I receive there were three obituaries—all women. The first was about an 86-year-old accountant—Betty; the second was a 71-year-old speech and hearing specialist—Linda; and the last one was 64-year-old teacher for children with disabilities—Shirley.
These three women lived a total of 221 years on this earth. Betty grew up during the Great Depression; Linda was born during the Second World War; and Shirley was born near the beginning of the Korean War.
All three women saw amazing technology advances and political and economic upheavals and changes. In the 1950s a gallon of gas was 26 cents; a movie ticket 60 cents; a hamburger 15 cents; and a coke 5 to 12 cents, depending on the size.
Betty began her career as an accountant in 1950 and continued until 2000—fifty years. Linda went from elementary school to high school during the 1950s. Shirley began elementary school in the middle 1950s.
Betty married late in life in 1971. Perhaps the boy from high school she would have married died in the war. This was the case for so many young women and the young men who lost their lives on beaches, jungles or mountain valleys.
For Linda it does not say that she was married. It does say that she was a very loving person and served her church in various roles.
Shirley was married in 1966. She is remembered as being very involved with her sons and the local sports. She spent her final days being with her grandchildren.
These glimpses into the lives of these three women are like still photographs. They catch the barest essence of what these women were.
Their lives interacted and touched not only their families but their communities as well. A life well lived is one that has thrived on this terrestrial globe.
One question, perhaps two, is “what will your family or friends say about you in your obituary? What impact will you have had on your community?”
The most important thing is “what will be their memories of you after your final good-bye.” Legacy is a memorial of the highest tribute which you can create on your daily walk on the road of life.
Accolades and voices will fade. Your footprints on the shores of eternity will be caressed by the waves, and it is those footprints of words and deeds which will affect the generations to come.
G. D. Williams © 2014