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Preparing to Write a Eulogy

Consider as early as possible:
  • Will I make time to hear and record the stories my loved one shares with me?
  • Do I take the time to tell important accounts about my life?
  • How will I choose to remember my loved one—for myself and to others?
  • What is important to me that I want others to remember?
  • How do others remember him/her/me?
  • What makes me/my loved one a unique individual?
  • What were the defining moments of my/my loved one’s life?

Angela Hunt holds a degree in the Psychology of Communications from Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, and is a grieving caregiver whose father recently passed away. She shares her time with her husband of 35 years, her grown children, grandchild, friends, and close extended family.
Gilbert, MN 55741 - 218-865-6741
Tips on Writing a Eulogy

While you may have a few days to put together a eulogy for a funeral, a newspaper notice, called a Death Notice, is the first thing to command your attention. Remember, if the body will be cremated, there can be a small service for immediate family only within 48 hours, then there is unlimited time in which to choose a memorial occasion; if the body is embalmed, there will be at least 72 hours for planning a funeral service, but if a “green” rite of burial without embalming is preferred, it must occur within 72 hours of death.

Strictly speaking, the Death Notice is a very short item in the public notices section of the newspaper that includes very basic information about the deceased and where a death service will be held. Usually 20-50 words in length. This is almost always free if kept within the word length. There may be a strict word length policy for this section of the paper, or it may be possible to pay by word to finish the pertinent information if necessary.

An Obituary is an expanded article building on the basic facts of the Death Notice to tributize, identify how the public may know the person, and/or reveal the personality of the person to the reader. Since it can be more ‘advertisement’ for the attributes of the person than information adding to what the public may already know perfunctorily about the person, it is usually considered to be in paid newspaper space. It may run the same week as the urgent Death Notice, or it may come one or two weekly newspapers later. The Obituary may appear the same week as a memorial service that has been scheduled significantly past the date of death. Both the Death Notice, and the Obituary, which often includes a list of clubs and associations as well as the person’s place of work, is all factual information.

A Eulogy often gets beyond perfunctory facts and fleshes out the personality of the deceased. It may be delivered in print or read aloud to an audience, but all three, Death Notice, Obituary, and Eulogy should establish the person in place and time. And while any of the three could be used as a Eulogy if necessary, the information usually regarded as material for a eulogy is more subjective in nature, as the eulogist additionally shares recalled remembrances, observed character traits or personal feelings about the deceased.

Death Notice
The newspaper usually appreciates this format:
Person’s name, age, dates and locations of birth and death, parents of the deceased, marriage(s). Those preceding the deceased in death, and a list of closest kin still surviving are also added.

A separate short informational biography is optional, and may be edited due to space constraints. Prepare to pay by the word for this additional information, though it may be free, depending on the newspaper and format (see information at the bottom of the article).

Details are important to the newspaper as much for future generations wanting to piece together family histories and bits of genealogy as for friends who should be informed immediately of your loved one’s passing, so be as accurate as possible within your time constraints.

Remember to include location and time of visitation, and funeral or memorial service details if the piece will run in time for people to be present, and you would like the public to attend.

Some local newspapers may allow unlimited free space for an expanded eulogy. Find out ahead of time if you will be paying by the word for your notice. By contrast, a regional newspaper will perhaps allow only 50 words free, (roughly the first short paragraph of Sample 1 and Sample 4, below. Sample 1 isn't enough information to fulfull who, what, where, when, why, how, so be careful how you use those words. In fact, Sample 2 is the minimum amount of hard factual information preferred by genealogists; Sample 3 is a format devised so no living fmailyl member feels left out of their 15 minutes of fame in the newspaper, which might be important to some families. The center paragraph of Sample 4 is an example of a glowing tribute to a beloved father, but does not inform a friend when and where to pay their respects.

Sample 1: the 50-word Death Notice

In Memory of [full name], [age], peacefully passed away at home Sunday, Sept. 23, 200_. He was born [birth date] in [town], MN to Thomas Charles and Isadore Elizabeth Marie [maiden name, if desired] Carroll, some of [town’s] earliest
pioneers, active charter members and the first to be married in the United Methodist Church. He graduated in 1936 from [town] Public School. On June 14, 194_ he married Elaine Melvina [maiden name] at the [town], MN Presbyterian Church. They resided in Pine Lake Township near [town] until his death.

While it is valuable to future generations of genealogists to establish the name of the church where family records were kept, the easiest way to get more valuable and succinct info for the current population wanting to attend the funeral is to remove any sidebar stories about his parents, and confine the remarks strictly to the deceased. Try a tighter version this way, remembering who, what, when, where, why, how:

Sample 2: Death Notice 56 words.

In Memory of Robert [middle initial] Carroll

[full name], [age], peacefully passed away at home Sunday, Sept. 23, 200_. He was born [birth date] in [town], MN to Thomas Charles and Isadore Elizabeth Marie [maiden name, if desired] Carroll and baptized at the Methodist Church. He graduated in 1936 from [town] Public School. On June 14, 194_ Robert married Elaine Melvina [maiden name] at the [town] Presbyterian Church. They resided in Pine Lake Township until his death.

Visitation will be at 10:00 am at the Community Worship Center, [address], [town], [state], [include zip code for online directions], Saturday, Sept. 29, 200_ until the 11:00 am service. Interment at [town and title] Cemetery immediately following. (either include zip code for online directions to the cemetery, or provide maps at the funeral for the location of the cemetery.)

Spell check before submitting. Most news organizations prefer or require online submission.

A ‘word’ is a significant noun, adjective or verb of 6 characters or more, or a group of about 7 letters and spaces = 1 word. If a word count must be shaved down, try removing modifiers like “peacefully”; substitute “died” for “peacefully passed away”, although it does provide a different tone; abbreviate “He was born on December __, ____” to “B:mm/dd/yyyy” (or D:9/23/200_) because it is a common way for genealogists to note birth and death dates.

Sample 3 The 85-100-word Obituary

In Memory of Robert “Bob” [middle initial] Carroll

[full name], [age], peacefully passed away Sunday, Sept. 23, 200_. He was born [birth date] in [town], MN to Thomas Charles and Isadore Elizabeth Marie [maiden name, if desired] Carroll. Robert graduated in 1936 from Public School. On June 14, 194_ he married Elaine Melvina [maiden name] at the [town] Presbyterian Church. Robert was preceded in death by his father and mother, and brothers C. Kenneth, Earnest, and Milton.

Survivors are wife [name]; children [name each with spouse of each] of
[town and state]; sister (name each surviving sibling) of [town and state]; [number of] grandchildren [add first names in order of appearance, or if room, by each family unit]; [number] of great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews, (and brothers and sisters “in the Lord”, “at the Lodge”, or “many friends”, etc, if desired).

Visitation will be at 10:00 am at the Community Worship Center, [address], [town], [state], [include zip code for online directions], Saturday, Sept. 29, 200_ until the 11:00 am service. Interment will be at the [town and title] Cemetery immediately following.

If the obituary is to be run in a local paper as the story of a lifelong resident, then some local color would be appreciated. Tie the person to community events that have significance for the greatest amount of the population who will be reading the article, put the most important facts grouped in paragraphs that can easily be moved to top priority and those that can be cut from the story if space becomes an issue.

Sample 4 The Eulogy

In Memory of Robert “Bob” [middle initial] Carroll

[full name], [age], peacefully passed away at home Sunday, Sept. 23, 200_. He was born [birth date] in, MN to Thomas Charles and Isadore Elizabeth Marie [maiden name, if desired] Carroll.

Bob’s parents were some of [town’s] earliest pioneers, owning the livery stable and managing the hotel. They were active charter members and the first to be married in the United Methodist Church.

Robert graduated in 1936 from Public School. On June 14, 194_ he married Elaine Melvina [maiden name] at the [town] Presbyterian Church.

He took great pleasure in the farm that was homesteaded (in what is now Pine Lake Township) by his grandfather, [M. __full name] where Bob lived out his entire life. In addition to employment at the Cooperative Feed Store in the 1950’s, school bus driver from 1959-1979, and 30 years in various positions on the night shift at [title] State Hospital, he enjoyed devising inventions to simplify farm life, and was a loving servant to his family, the
community, his many friends, church family, neighbors, and
relatives. Bob was a man of principle, honesty, and humility, strong
constitution, and resolve.

Robert served on the public school board, the boards of two churches, the local Christian school board, and heavily supported and served through various charitable and missions organizations. Until he became ill, Robert gave blood as often as he was allowed. He has been tirelessly empathetic toward the widow, orphan, and the poor and disadvantaged. He built a “bread wagon” that, with the help of many from [church], provided free bread and groceries to all the needy of upper [name] County before the food shelf system began. Eventually the ministry became part of Center of Hope, then Family Pathways.

Robert was preceded in death by his father and mother, and brothers
C. Kenneth, Earnest, and Milton.

Bob’s survivors are wife [name]; children [name each with spouse of each] of [town and state]; sister (name each surviving sibling) of [town and state]; [number of] grandchildren [add first names in order of appearance, or if room, by each family unit] ; [number] of great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews, and brothers and sisters (“in the Lord”, “at the Lodge”, or “many friends”, etc, if desired).

Visitation will be at 10:00 am at the Community Worship Center, [address], [town], [state], [include zip code for online directions], Saturday, Sept. 29, 200_ until the 11:00 am service. Interment will be at the [town and title] Cemetery immediately following.

Note: traditional etiquette requires the maiden name of a married woman mentioned in a list of descendants. However, consider limiting personal information to avoid identity theft, but also weigh the value of the information to future generations of genealogists. It can be a difficult decide in these times how much to include, how much to mask.

See also how the given name is tied to factual information, and the nickname is associated with anecdote, “soft” news, or to indicate familiar relationship.

Try not to divide words in order to wrap neatly to the next line. Use ragged right instead, and let the newspaper delete pieces of spacing to make a hard right margin, if they require it.

Eulogy Sample 5: The Service Bulletin or Memento
As soon as you have determined a date and time for the memorial service or funeral, condense the facts above in a tighter format if you wish to have a memento for the attendees. This is either printed by the funeral home, the crematory, or the church or synagogue hosting the service. Allow at least 24 hours to print. The format below is standard:

In Memory of
Robert Carroll
May __, 19__
[town], Minnesota
September 23, 200_
Saturday, September 29, 200_ 11:00 a.m.
Community Worship Center
[town], Minnesota
Pastor Samuel Burch
Margaret Christiansen, organist
Howard Gamble, soloist
Carroll children ensemble
[name] Cemetery
[town], Minnesota
Steven [include last names]
Richard [include last names]
[name] Funeral Home
[town], Minnesota

Visitation 10:00 am at the Community Worship Center, [address for the benefit of posterity wishing to track down records], Saturday, Sept. 29, 200_ until the 11:00 am service. Interment will be at the [title and town] Cemetery.

Congratulations. You have collected the pertinent information and given notice of the event. You’re almost halfway done. Now comes the creative part.

Expanded eulogies

Now it’s time to sit down and write about your memories and impressions of the person you wish to commemorate.

Sample 6: Creative Eulogy
The one below for Robert Carroll was written in a poetic style using the chronology of life events to drive the information. Note the various titles he held or “hats” he wore are used as the organizing topic sentences of each stanza. The intention was to put “flesh on the bones” for both current and future readers about who he was; therefore both negative experiences and positive traits are mentioned in order to give greater depth of understanding into Robert as a person and the times in which he lived.

"My Father in Verse"—sample poem

An obedient cub
Last of the pack
Pulled by the scruff of the neck
From face down
In his grandfather’s lake
Because he had reached
For “diamonds in the water”
One sunny morning.

An imaginative first grader
Showed promise
But a fever produced
Gruesome gargoyles
On the bedroom ceiling
Which held him back a year.

A hard working boy
Whose teacher enquired
Whether Bobby might try to get up
Just five minutes earlier every day
So he could be in class on time.
The boy replied
If he got out of bed five minutes earlier,
He would just do five minutes more work
Before he walked the mile and a half to school.

A Boy Scout
For just a year
Because money was so dear
Played taps for the camp
And then for himself
After the sun went down
Liking the sound that bounced around
The esker and calm lake
Giving a voice
To the ache
For the father who died
When Bobby was three.
Letting the long slow notes
Speak to God on his behalf
Sorry he had to learn every job by trial and error
Instead of seeing large calloused hands teach.
Mental toughness is no substitute for feeling loved
Yet knowing
That hearing ‘I love you’ from stoic Norwegian lips
Could take a lifetime—or may never come--
So he took the melody life played out
Even if the harmony was a little thin sometimes.

A grateful youth
Accepted a suit and socks
Quietly donated by the superintendent
So he could attend graduation in 1937 style.
The School of Hard Knocks gave classes, too:
He had had to borrow money
That hard winter
For feed to keep the cows alive.
In the spring
He worked the WPA road crew
Chopping brush with a hatchet
To pay back the whole debt
At 25 cents an hour.
The crew superintendent said
He was not yet man enough
To handle an axe;
Just the same,
He made his short-handled pile
Just as big as the others
Just to prove to himself
He was.

Two young brothers
Filled with dreams of farming
Bid on a whole section of good, dark Chisago County loam
But the deal fell through
So he settled back in
On his grandfather’s homestead
Of sub marginal land
Chosen for beauty
Which fed the soul
Over fertility that fed the stomach,
Making up the difference in sweat.
Brother Ernie gave it his all
But the farm was a noose;
The more he struggled
The tighter it got.
The soil buried his dream
And he moved on.
But Bob dug it up
And tried again.

A boutonnièred groom
Won the heart of
A brunette beauty
(A dairy princess in her father’s eyes)
By winning a singing contest
With a smooth deep range
At a mixer
For the new crop of teachers.

An untraditional couple for the times,
He let dishwater soak pitchfork blisters,
Washed the kitchen floor and mucked barn stalls
Made breakfast creations to a whistled Tennessee Waltz
So Elaine could get ready for work in town.
She patched overalls and drove tractor in them
Milked and then separated the cream
Made all the family clothing and bread
Preserved jam and sanity
And taught school behind a desk, and in the woods.
Together they set out to coax the land
And raise a family
On music and love and Guernsey milk.

A humble man with three children
And one on the way
Apologized to the neighbors
For bringing home
A new car,
His first.

A school bus driver
Who had a knack
For selecting the neediest kid
To run the tracks
Then letting him know
With just a nod
He’d saved us all;
The chauffeur
Who sat back in the seat
With his cap ajar
And gave out huge apples
Shiny as convex mirrors
From a big blue box
Every Christmas
Presenting them meaningfully
Because to him,
Though money was dear,
Each kid was worth a ruby twice the size;
Just a driver
Who swung open the door
And released to the world
An entire generation
Of kinetic potential.

A father
A man who loved and protected his children,
Making sure we didn’t get away with wrong
Boy oh boy!
A dad who played ball with his kids
Who laughed and danced in the barn
And in the kitchen
Hugged, told yarns
Joked yelled and told you what was what.

A willing volunteer
Working on a church addition
Fell from the scaffolding
Crushing his heel.
He walked a block to a phone
To get help for the others injured.
Dr. Munson developed an x-ray
Of his good foot
Then reversed it
So he could tell how to put
The tiny shards of the other one back together.
Saying he came by his “two left feet” honestly,
Dad could still smoothly waltz with his daughter 40 years later.

A treasurer of the [town] School Board,
He said “Mrs. Drahosh did most of the work.”
He canvassed eastern Pine County for
The Heart Fund and the Cancer Society for years
But said it “Didn’t seem fair to ask someone else to do
more work than the chairman”
So he personally visited 200 homes.
“They are my neighbors”
Was all the reason he gave.

A student
Learning arc welding
At Pine Technical School
After retirement
From 30 years on the psych ward,
Respecting patients as people
And nurses as friends
Melting the boundaries
Providing a wire
A continuum of sanity
Rather than leaving cracks and crevices
By speaking of “us” and “them”.

A human being
Who was not as concerned with perfection
As with process
Someone who did
And who survived by doing
A person who was not only accustomed to hard work
He was defined by it.

A patient
Who grew more patient
Who learned late
But not too late
To self-disclose
To feel and express a range of emotion
To live sorrow, appreciation, and pain with equal grace
To hear disappointing news and not be shaken to the core
To value joy, simple pleasure, a painless breath
To tell God “thank you” through an oxygen hose
For being able to walk to the table
And eat an ounce of food
And mean it.
To finally be able to say “I love you”
To children who have lived a lifetime knowing it was true
But waited to hear it from stoic Norwegian lips.

A funeral planner,
He spoke about this service.
Of the sermon:
“Don’t make it too bad.”
Of the eulogy:
“Don’t make it too good.”
Of the pomp
“Don’t make it too long.”
Of the participants
“Let everybody talk and laugh.”
“Let there be music.
Plenty of music.”

     -From “My Father in Verse: Working Through the End of Life” p 27-32, By Angela Hunt 9/25/07

Note: Robert’s eulogy was an enclosure in the memento bulletin given at the funeral rather than read aloud in order to save time in the service. Besides, I didn’t think I would be able to read this long of an item aloud and hold my composure, even though the pastor was willing to have us take the time. I chose to read aloud a three-stanza poem instead,” The Spice Cupboard”, also found in My Father in Verse.

To purchase the book My Father in Verse, click

Because a loved one longs to have others know how special the deceased was, I hope your writing receives treasured posts like these:

After reading your Eulogy poem, I wish I’d known him. –Brenda, Green Isle, MN

Thank you for sharing your Eulogy poem. The thing I liked best was he was portrayed as a human being, flaws and all, but in a very reverent way. Most eulogies mistakenly make the person larger than life. I’m only sorry I didn’t get to know him. —Janette, Chaska, MN

Sample 7: Retrospective Eulogy

The eulogy for Edna [name], age at death 110 ½, uses a chronology of world events to help educate attenders to appreciate the range her life encompassed. This eulogy was the main part of the funeral service with just a short devotional reflection by clergy. Congregational singing and Special Music was interspersed to break up and transition the information. It is mainly historical, or event, driven. The format or literary device could be used for someone who has lived either a long or a significant life. This is also a sample of an informal Christian Burial Service without liturgy. Note: There is an abbreviated version of this Eulogy used as a local newspaper article below it to show how doing one set of research can help you accomplish two tasks.

Funeral Transcript
Prayer for Comfort Pastor Sam Burch

Hymn: “When We All Get to Heaven” Emily D. Wilson
1.     Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed He’ll prepare for us a place.

Chorus: When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!

2.     While we walk the pilgrim pathway Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when traveling days are over Not a shadow, not a sigh.

3.     Onward to the prize before us! Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open We shall tread the streets of gold.

Scripture Dean Carroll
Psalm 91
1     He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2     I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3     Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4     He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5     Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6     Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7     A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8     Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9     Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10     There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11     For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12     They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13     Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14     Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15     He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16     With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

Message of Hope Pastor Burch

Ps 91: 1-4 Edna had a fortress. God provides a refuge. Dwell: to settle in.
The one who settles in there lives in God.
Abide: to stop there, remain—not moving in and out.
He is my protection: He does not provide it, He is it.

:5 We are not to be afraid of death.
Blessings are not about circumstances. There is a lack of fear because of who her Protection is. The God in which a person is settled into brings one peace. Fear did not dictate her life.

:11 He shall give His angels charge
They are dispatched on our behalf:
•     To keep me in all My ways
•     Kept at rest, not at performance orientation
•     Should I fail, then THEY will lift you up
The Devil used this scripture to tempt Jesus: “Prove something to me, call your angels”. Jesus didn’t, but after the Devil left, “Angels came and ministered to Him”. Sometimes angels don’t show up during the trial because the Devil will not be humored that way. But they will come and minister eventually.

: 14-16 Edna has a future.
“Ask anything in My name/with the seal of My relationship with you, and I will do it..”
Where do I place my love? On stuff, or on the stuff of God?
If long life on this earth were what was promised, everyone would live as long as Edna did. Some faithful people die very young, therefore the ‘long life’ mentioned in the Psalm must be something separate from this earthly existence. Edna moved from one long life to another long life. The blessing on earth is in satisfaction of a life lived with Jesus Christ.

Eulogy Angela Hunt (grand niece)

The account below is compiled from many interviews conducted over the last 15 years. The dates and events are accurate to the best of my ability. If you have other facts, please let me know. Sometimes Edna, after all, added a little “color” to events. That’s why we loved her stories!

Edna [full name] was born November __, 1895 in Bock, MN during the Gilded Age, that fantastic period of history full of hope, expansion, discovery, and invention.
Among innovations in 1895 was the discovery that canning could prevent food spoilage; movies were shown in public for the first time, wireless signals were successfully transmitted, Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel opened with great fanfare because it featured the first electric lights in a “non-essential” public building. The element Helium, and the roentgen ray—otherwise know as the x-ray-- were discovered. 1895’s inventions included the safety razor and the diesel engine. George Selden received a patent for a “road locomotive” a steam operated precursor of the automobile. The word “calorie” was applied to food for the first time.

But to get a perspective of her life we need to realize Edna was born into a world still without penicillin, the radio, the safety pin or the zipper. England’s Queen Victoria died when Edna was six. Edna was eight years old when the Wright brothers made their historic manned flight at Kitty Hawk.

That’s right: She lived 110.5 years-- 40,363 days, surviving typhoid fever, the 1918 influenza pandemic, three heart attacks, a gall bladder operation in the 1950s, and three bouts of pneumonia late in life. She had cataracts removed at age 100.

There is a saying that a person should have just enough rain in their lives to appreciate the sunshine. Edna’s showers started early: she was just 8 when her mother died suddenly, leaving Essie, at 11 as substitute mother for the family of 4 remaining children. Edna held her father’s hand as her mother’s casket was loaded into the baggage compartment of a train that whistled as mournful as the children felt. The in-laws buried Mother in Princeton, but Essie and her siblings had a patient, loving and protective father who walked several miles home from the lumber camp every night instead of sending the children to an orphanage, which was the custom of the day.

Edna recalled her typhoid episode at age 14: the fever caused her hair to fall out in handfuls. Last rites were spoken over her, but the Lord saw fit to pull her through. Even though Edna traded her beautiful curls for thin, straight “dishwater brown” hair the rest of her life, she began at that moment to realize she’d found a Friend in Jesus.

Song P 163 I’ve Found a Friend George C. Stebbins 1846-1945

1. I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend! He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love, and thus he bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His and He is mine, Forever and forever.

2. I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend! He bled, He died to save me;
And not alone the gift of life, But His own self He gave me.
Naught that I have my own I call, I hold it for the Giver;
My heart my strength, my life, my all Are His, and His forever.

3. I’ve found a Friend, O such a Friend! So kind and true and tender,
So wise a counselor and guide, So mighty a defender!
From Him who lives me no so well, What power my soul can sever?
Shall life or death, or earth or hell? No! I am His forever. Amen

Almost a year later she tried returning to school. Her golden waves of long hair were gone, but gradually the “brass door knob” of a bald head was covered over with bristly dark shocks. It was as difficult to realize she was a grade behind as it was realizing she would never have enough hair to hold a proper fabric bow, the style of the day. She quit school, but eventually she had to give her self-concept to the Lord. He compensated by giving her an outgoing personality.

At 17 her sister Essie started a dressmaking shop in downtown [town]. Edna wanted in. Salesmen who showed suitcases of fabric swatches had their choice of riding on one of five trains a day that serviced the town. It was luscious to run a hand over the satin ribbon samples. The young ladies chose a few bolts to showcase at the shop and got started sewing to ladies’ measurements. Though Essie painstakingly completed a correspondence dressmaking course, Edna preferred learning hands-on from her sister. They set style and fashion trends for their clientele.

The technology of telephone reached [town] and Edna, always interested in something new, rented space in back of the dress shop to house a central telephone station operator for the region, figuring the curiosity would bring in customers. Trouble is Edna’s eye kept wandering from her seams to the configuration of wires, fascinated by the prospect of being able to talk to anyone anytime. Soon she was at the switchboard fulltime, connecting calls from Minneapolis to Duluth. “It’s a lot like prayer,” she noted. “You can whisper, or you can shout, but if the connection is sturdy, you know the party hears and responds.” The telephone job seemed made in heaven for an extrovert. But married women were not allowed to work outside the home in 1917. She had to choose between young Earl [name]’s proposal and her budding techno-career. She prayed about it—but not too hard!

A wedding at age 19 promised the hope of a wonderful life with a man she greatly loved. After six weeks of married bliss, Earl received a letter: “Greetings” it said. “You have been inducted into the United States Army.” This was not an invitation that carried with it the confidence of a return to life as normal: more men died in WWI than in the rest of the conflicts the US was involved with combined. They died from gunshot, mustard gas, dysentery, infections, influenza, amputations, broken hearts and just seeing too much broken humanity.

It was decided Edna would move in with her new in-laws while Earl was overseas. She thought it was a generous gesture until she set her suitcase down in a sod hut that, spring, or fall, would have the odd snake slip down from the rafters. Her in-laws gave her some suitable homespun work clothes and told her the day was wasting, make herself useful. Breaking sod on a new homestead was backbreaking labor. She quickly felt more like an indentured servant than a treasured daughter. But in survival mode, there is little time for pampering: there were stumps to pull and burn, hay to mow, water to fetch from the creek, there was wash to stir in a cauldron in the yard, chickens to butcher and pluck, cows to milk, lye soap to make from the fireplace ashes where she cooked rutabagas for breakfast. While she stirred and hoed and milked and fed, she wept for her former life, and prayed for Earl as only a new bride can. She felt like the bride in the Song of Solomon, looking, longing, and waiting for her beloved to return. And the Word reminds us even Jesus learned obedience through the things he suffered.

After Armistice Day, Earl showed up on the train at the Bruno station, limbs intact, still sound of mind. Oh, what a reunion they had! Like Cinderella is found by prince charming, he took her away from his family farm. But the Lord’s answer to her prayers to get away from backbreaking labor was…that they started a homestead of their own! The work, however, became joy beside Earl. In addition, God provided a homestead someone was selling: some of the stumps from [the Westinghouse Magnate] clear-cutting mammoth white pines were already absent. There was a nice frame house on the property. It was already a good start. Earl bought a team from his army earnings and became the section road grader, hired a crew and established the system of roads in Pine Co. up to Carlton. They prospered and were in health even as their souls prospered—until 1918, when they narrowly escaped the Moose Lake Fire. Then Edna succumbed to chills and fever and did her part to become a statistic of the influenza outbreak of 1918. Prayers were said again: this time Earl’s doctor and pastor were summoned. Again, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availed much, and his bride was spared.

Once Edna recovered, Earl thought it best to get her away from grueling farm life. His savings from road construction bought them a nice 10-unit apartment building in Duluth to manage. Full of hope, promise, and excitement, they signed the papers-- in 1929. In October that year, Black Tuesday reports hung in the air, thick as funeral crepe. People flooded to churches all over the country. Nov __, 1929 (Edna’s 34th birthday) both Edna and Earl asked Jesus to be the Lord of their lives. Up to now they believed, they relied on him for the really important things, they prayed earnestly during a crisis, but this time they wanted relationship. This was not a “foxhole” salvation experience under the duress of national crisis. This was conversion, a change of heart, a decision to do things differently. Awash in the light of massive stained glass windows, they were both baptized by immersion as a public profession of their faith on Dec 7, 1929. It didn’t make her perfect, but it did make her different, wanting to be more like Jesus.

Song: That Wonderful Cross Lowell Mason 1792-1872, Chris Tomlin. Isaac Watts,
JD Walt, Jesse Reeves @2000
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.
See from His head, His hands, His feet sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Chorus: Oh the wonderful cross! Oh the wonderful cross!
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.
Oh the wonderful cross! Oh the wonderful cross!
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an off’ring far too small/
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.


Spiritually hungry, they attended every Bible Study and prayer meeting that Twin Ports Bible Temple Pentecostal Church on Superior Street in Duluth had to offer. The two received a marvelous infilling of the Holy Spirit.

The Fellowship became the center of their lives. They attended Bible studies, services 3 times per week, and were close encouragers of the pastor and his wife. They were such good friends, in fact, that the couple would drop by Edna and Earl’s house unannounced. If Edna was in the middle of doing the laundry, the pastor would grab the clothespins and start hanging sheets on the line. Edna and Earl realized, with their love for children, being youth group leaders was a natural choice. There were always kids around the house, even though Edna’s bout with typhoid had left her barren.

Earl’s brother and sister-in-law Grant and Astrid were other close friends. They socialized continually. One fourth of July they had a picnic at Sturgeon Lake. In an unfortunate turn of events, Astrid/Zana? drowned (1927?), leaving 5? year-old Gene (b. 1925) without a mother. Earl and Edna took Gene to raise. Just when they started adoption proceedings, Grant decided to remarry (Glee Plaistad), and took 14 year old Gene back home. After having Gene 9 years, the house was sullenly quiet.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you full measure, pressed down shaken together shall men heap unto your bosom.” Give, even though you yourself are pressed down; give more—even when you are shaken—together-- to the core, and I will cause men to heap unto your bosom. Edna decided she had to give Gene back—to the Lord, and she had to let him go back to Grant, too. But how could anyone possibly “heap” love for a child back into their bosom without a child there?

A short time later Edna was in the yard and saw caseworkers knocking on doors asking people if they could take in orphans, which was the custom during the Great Depression. No one on the block felt they could spare the extra food. When the caseworker came to Edna’s door with two little girls, ages 3 and 5, she told Edna it would be just one mouth to feed; it was the worker’s responsibility to find another family for the second child. Edna quickly determined they were sisters, remembered the fear of being separated from her own siblings as a child, and refused to let them be placed in two different homes. Earl came home to the delightful surprise.

Song: The Longer I serve Him the Sweeter He Grows William J. Gaither @1965
1.     Since I started for the kingdom, Since my life He controls,
Since I gave my heart to Jesus The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.

Chorus: The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows,
The more that I love Him more love He bestows;
Each day is like heaven, my heart overflows
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.

2.     Every need He is supplying, Plenteous grace He bestows;
Every day my way gets brighter The longer I serve Him the sweeter He


Edna and Earl abided by the seven year waiting period to adopt, and started the proceedings. During the final stages of additional two-year adoption process, Earl had the flu, he returned to work too soon, and got heart damage. He then had a heart attack and died a few days later.

Poem found in Edna’s Bible Maia Nelson (great grand niece)
Note: Poem was given to her by Earl for her fifth birthday with a box of candy, Nov __, 1946. He died in 1950.

If I Should Be the First to Go
If I should be the first to go
And you remain awhile
Before you, too, must walk alone
Down life’s last lonely mile,
I would not have you weep nor grieve
For happiness that’s flown
Lest tears would dim that misty veil
Down which my feet have gone.

If I should be the first to go
Beyond life’s mystic pale
Just think of me as one who goes
To blaze a brighter trail
Across that unknown wilderness
That on some future day
Your feet may find a smoother path
Along that selfsame way.

If I should be the first to go
I shall walk slowly dear
For someday you will follow me
Across death’s dark frontier.
I’ll mark each turn along the way
That you may walk the same.
I’ll often pause to hear your voice
If you should call my name.

If I should be the first to go
Beyond all earthly care,
I’ll try to linger near the gate
Until you enter there.
Then hand in hand,
With all of life’s hard battles fought and won,
Together we shall find
What lies beyond the setting sun.
          -author unknown

[Maia was paging through Edna’s Bible, which was on display at the funeral. This poem fell out, and it was added to the service.]

Suddenly, with Earl’s passing, Edna was no longer eligible to adopt. According to the state rules at the time, Janet and Mary were immediately removed from their home. Within hours, all three of her most precious humans were gone from her sight.

Edna packed a suitcase and headed for relatives in Seattle. To grieve. To get away. To come to terms with a God who is under no obligation to give us the desires of our hearts.

Song:, “Through many dangers, toils, and snares, Tammy Robinson, a capella
I have already come; (grand niece)
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

Amazing? grace, how sweet? the sound.

I’ll be honest. It took awhile for Edna to be able to say with Job,
”The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

“What happens when life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to?
When faithfulness doesn’t produce the desired results?
What happens to us at that moment when we are called to lay our Isaac down on an altar, and there is no sheep in the thicket as a fallback?
God ultimately wants to know if we’re willing to give up what we love to Him who loves us more. He desires for us to open our fists and trust Him with absolutely everything.” The key is to fully engage our hearts in understanding the God who loves us more. What we have to do is answer the question, “The God who loves us… more than what?” We need to acknowledge He is the God who loves us more than we love our Isaac. (When I Lay My Isaac Down, Carol Kent p. 42).

The key is receiving the grace God gives when things just don’t work out. Grace is the only thing that makes us able to say, in unthinkable circumstances, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.” And eventually Edna was able to come to terms with a God who eventually tests our trust “Because,” as Edna said when asked how she could still be a Christian when life is unfair, “I haven’t gotten a better offer yet.”

[Open mike for the audience members to add remembrances of her life. Several shared, but an elderly Richard Samson of Duluth gave an amazing account of “mom always having to call me home from Earl and Edna’s for supper because it was always so much fun over there. Edna usually tucked an extra cookie in my 6-year-old shirt pocket for later as I scooted out the door for home...” He put skin on what I could only tell about, and in 4 sentences, added credibility to the whole eulogy.]

[Note that I left people’s own memories of her to fill in recent history.]

The last of 22 moves over a lifetime, the final nine years for Edna were lived in the [town] Area Nursing Home, where she mentioned just last fall she might like to mend sheets and uniforms to help “earn her keep”. She represented the nursing home two years on floats in the local parade, the perfect job for an incurable extrovert! The only regret she mentioned over lunch at the home one day was that she unwittingly turned some of you away when you came to visit her through the stupor of a nap. (She was shocked to find out that she had said she didn’t want to talk sometimes! She asked me to apologize for her if I saw any of you.)

Last year she asked for Earl’s Bible, and as she caressed the cover like an old friend, her fingers settled into four indentations in the leather as she started to open it.

CD Selection: “Untitled Him” by Chris Rice
Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head for Love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus Christ and live!

Now your burden’s lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain…so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk, sometimes we fall…so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain…then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside…then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side…and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

Goodbye, Aunt Edna, goodbye! ?
Creating a Keepsake Eulogy
Material for this service timed to 1 hour and 14 minutes 30 seconds, 30 seconds short of a full CD. Consider recording the service for posterity. There were 42 requests after the service for CDs and 32 requests for transcripts. After people started sharing the information with friends and relatives, people who had not been able to attend called for copies.

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Sample 8 Persuasive Eulogy: Convincing the Newspaper Reader (and Editor) the Deceased is Noteworthy

Note: The article below was condensed from the Christian burial service information above and submitted to the local newspaper as a eulogy in order not to have to completely write two items. The entire purpose of an article of this nature is, of course, to honor the deceased person, but death is not considered “news”, so anything that deviates from the standard obituary information at the start of this article you’ll want to be prepared to pay for—by the word. However, if the person is noteworthy (or you can prove in the copy just how noteworthy they were), if the piece is informational, entertaining, or historical in its own right, and above all, if it is well-written enough to not require staff editing time, you stand a chance of getting it published for free. This one appeared in its entirety in the Sandstone Courier. I sent a little different version to the Pine County Courier, also published (both free of charge; one made it to the front page, under the fold), but a younger business community noteworthy died the same day as Edna in Duluth (where she had resided for 30 of her highest profile career years), so the limited space was reserved for him instead in their paper.

For the Duluth Herald, I tried to deviate from the standard format given at the top of this article on writing Eulogies in order to make her “40 words” in the Duluth Herald a little more distinctive, but they didn’t appreciate that, and I ended up rewriting it in standard genealogical format anyway. Lesson learned: save your time and theirs and stick to the samples in last week’s newspaper or at the beginning of this article [Sample 2] for Death Notices. (Maybe editors of obituaries (or at least that one) have no creative juices left in their veins and aren’t encouraged to think outside a 40 word/280 character box-- that sounds a little like a coffin.) Then submit a separate article if you wish, for a chance in the section they reserve for note worthies. Prepare to pay any submission by the word if it is accepted in a larger newspaper.

Newspaper Obituary
Edna [full name] died Monday, May 29, 2006 at the Sandstone Area Nursing Home. Edna was no ordinary woman. She lived in her own home alone until the age of 101. Being 110.5 years of age at her death, she qualified as a national supercentarian.* But the most unusual thing about her lifespan, perhaps, is the fact that she has lived in 3 different centuries: (Stone masons misjudged her in 1950 and mistakenly chiseled a premature -19__ on her intended tombstone.).

Edna was born Nov __, 1895 in [town], MN during the Gilded Age, that fantastic period of history full of hope, expansion, discovery, and invention. Among innovations during her birth year: the discovery that canning food could prevent spoilage; movies were shown in public for the first time, wireless signals were successfully transmitted, Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel opened with great fanfare-- because it featured electric lights. The element Helium and the x-ray were discovered. Inventions included the safety razor and the diesel engine. George Selden received a patent for a “road locomotive”, a steam-operated precursor of the automobile. The word “calorie” was applied to food for the first time.

In her lifetime six states were admitted to the Union. Born during Grover Cleveland’s second presidency, she was 8 years old when the Wright brothers made their successful flight. Homesteads were still being granted in Minnesota after her marriage. 20 presidential administrations have come and gone. But in a world without penicillin or vaccines, Edna survived typhoid fever and the 1918 influenza pandemic. There were 3 heart attacks in her fifties, a gall bladder operation, and three bouts of pneumonia. Her cataracts were removed at age 100.

At a time when most women were relegated to the home, Edna was a student, entrepreneur, telephone operator, milkmaid, farmer, WWI and WWII army wife, landlord, seamstress, fashion expert, and interior decorator. But she was never a mother, so she and husband Earl became beloved foster parents to several children in the 1930’s and 40’s. She worked as an alterations specialist at the Glass Block, and Aslesen’s Dress Shop in Duluth. When she “retired”, she started her own alterations business in [town] and [town], to help her keep up on fashion trends and the social life of both communities until she was 90. She is preceded in death by parents Harry and Melvina [name], siblings, Essie, Lloyd, Elsie, and Lyle, and husband Earl.

*There was only one other person older than Edna in Minnesota at the time (111), and less than 15 in the nation.

Here are posts for the info from Edna’s funeral:

Thank you so very much for sharing Edna DeMaris’ memory handout. We enjoyed reading about this exceptional woman. We have been sharing some of her life with others.—Gordon and Mary Lou S., MN

I wish I’d known her.– Annie, MN

I visited her at the nursing home, and we decided the best thing about living that long (110 years) is there isn’t much peer pressure! Sam B., TN

Thank you for sharing this wonderful woman with the world and with me.—Janet, AZ (one of the adoptive daughter-hopefuls)

The added benefit of making the eulogy memorable was it provided Aunt Edna with the opportunity to make an impact one last time.

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Information about the author

Sample 9: Eulogy
Note: Provided by James D. Means, Maine. This eulogy is principally driven by core values and was shared as part of a Memorial Service honoring several people, his mother being one. I include his note as helpful advice to all of us:

Hi Angela. In response to your note, I would be pleased to have you post the eulogy I wrote for my mothers' funeral Mass. Although I am accustomed to public speaking, delivering this was one of the hardest things I have ever done; it was very emotional and took much longer to say [than] when I timed my practice session (bold mine). Fr. Paul (a fabulous Priest from Guardian Angels Church in Chaska) had suggested a 2 minute maximum. Thankfully, it was very enthusiastically received. It was important to me since many of her Minnesota friends were unaware of other portions of her life (italics mine).

You can simply use my name, Jim Means, whenever you post or publish this. You are also free to use her name, June Means.

I have also attached a letter that my sister wrote and had a friend read at the funeral. My sister is Pat Gurnon. I spoke with her yesterday, and she also gives you full permission to use her letter. The interesting thing is that the themes of our two works are similar, even though we did not communicate with each other when we wrote them. (We have not even lived in the same state for over 40 years, and see each other only occasionally!)

I look forward to viewing your website. Please stay in touch.

Thank you.] --Jim Means

Mom’s Eulogy

Thank you Fr. Paul for the Mass you and Fr. Conran are celebrating with us today. Thank you everyone for coming to honor Mom and celebrate her official send-off to Heaven and for all of your support.

Family First! (Sounds a little bit like Country First which we are hearing from my favorite candidate! Sorry Bill. )….Family First, closely followed by Faith and Friends. That was Mom’s creed, her purpose for living.

Like many of us, Mom’s life had several distinct phases: Hers began with a difficult and economically poor childhood growing up in rural Olean, NY. Her life brightened immensely when she met our father, and the only love of her life, named Jim. While he served in the Navy during WWII she worked in a factory helping the war effort. She was an accomplished trumpet player and would play TAPS every evening in the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium at the conclusion of the war newsreels. She married Dad right after the war and started her family.

I remember growing up and Mom stayed at home (raising me and my two sisters, doing some – but not a lot – of housework and a lot of gardening). She loved working in the soil, tending her plants, flowers and vegetables. The importance of friends became obvious. Every weekday morning a friend would drop by, the coffee percolator was put on the stove and the classic “coffee talk” would commence. It went on for hours. Mom was always offering support, but very little advice. She had perfected the art of being an active listener and comforted her friends because she was truly interested in their lives.

Ours was a usually happy home. Remember the 50’s? We lived in one of the post WWII new suburban developments outside of Buffalo, NY. Our family was a mixture of Ozzie and Harriet, Lucille Ball (that would be Mom, with her red hair, antics and all!) along with Leave it to Beaver (That would be me!). Dad worked hard running the family tool and die business which supported a comfortable but simple lifestyle. Many weekends were spent at a Pennsylvania camp in the Alleghany Mountains where there was great hunting and fishing. Our early Christmas and Birthday celebrations were simple affairs, but Mom would spend weeks getting what we wanted or needed most. Family First!

When I was twelve we began a family tradition of spending two weeks in Canada at a lakeside cabin. My Grandfather had discovered this lake and convinced Sam Jocko (the local Indian Chief) who happened to own one of the few homes on this remote lake to build log cabins for fishermen to rent. For several nights during that first year we kids could not sleep because Sam and his tribal friends were drinking firewater and doing war dances in our cabin into the wee hours. With no running water, only a wood cook stove, two light bulbs, a simple divider between two beds and decrepit outhouses in the woods, it was an affordable family vacation. Mom never complained. In fact she did what she did best: she spent time with her family and husband and made new friends. By the way, those friends remain today, five generations of the Bandzi and Lehman families from Slatington, PA who also spent those same two weeks each year on Calabogie Lake. Our families have shared births, weddings and deaths over the past five decades (OK, please stop doing the math, I feel and look younger than what the number in your head is telling you!)

The next phase of Mom’s life was not happy. Her husband (remember, he was the love of her life) died in 1976 when Mom was only 46 years old. Nancy was the only child living at home, Pat was living in Minnesota and I lived 150 miles away and could only spend every other weekend with her. After a few difficult years of living in New York State, including some time in the remote retirement country home that Mom and Dad built, she moved to be near her brother in Florida.

It was there that Mom re-developed her deep Catholic faith which pulled her out of her darkness. She eventually followed Pat and Nancy to Minnesota and lived and worked in Chaska. This became the second happy phase of her life. She became a “person for others” spending much of her free time volunteering in many ways. She would knit blankets and shawls for those in need. She would drive anyone in need to doctor appointments or wherever else someone needed to go. She knitted all kinds of projects, sold them at Church fairs and donated all of the proceeds to charity. She walked to mass daily at Guardian Angels and became active in their CCW group, bible study group, and other volunteer efforts. In 1990 she made a religious journey to Medjugorje, spending a wonderful week that deepened her faith.

She would visit my family in Maine for one or two weeks every year. I am grateful that she developed a close relationship with my wife, JoAnn. They would spend a lot of time together shopping for yarn and going to craft sales and Church fairs. I especially loved to see the interaction of Mom with her three grandsons. Upon arrival in Maine, she would spend time with each grandson individually, going to their rooms and be shown what each one’s current project or interest was. She related to them on their level and they enjoyed having her read stories, play games and going on long walks together. She was there for each one’s major school graduation. Family First. From 1500 miles away.

She moved again to Florida to be with her brother, but was not happy there. We had to get her back to Chaska! Mom absolutely loved coming back six years ago and enjoyed being at Talheim. She did not move back for the weather! Old friendships were rekindled and (no surprise), new friendships began. Mom really enjoyed her morning coffee talks, volunteering in the kitchen and at Auburn Manor along with resuming her car shuttle. I want to thank her friends at Talheim, which are too numerous to mention by name, for all of their friendships with Mom.

Her last year was difficult. She could no longer drive or do much of her volunteer work. Those were the only two things that she ever complained to me about. I spoke with her daily. As only Mom could, I would ask her how she was doing and she would always turn the conversation towards how JoAnn (my wife) or her grandchildren or I was. It could never be about her. She would always say, “Don’t worry about me Jim, I will be fine”. Well Mom, I believe you. You are fine. Today is a day of celebration at the end of your faithful life on earth. Still, we miss you. Family. Faith. Friends. God Bless you Mom.

- Jim Means
November 1, 2008
Delivered at Marvel Heath Chapel
Chaska, Minnesota

Other samples of Eulogy writing
Sample 10: Eulogy
The driving force and organizational device for the eulogy below is fashioned after an acrostic.

Eulogy written by Pat Gurnon for mother, June Means

November 1, 2008 All Saints Day

Dearest Mom,

I’m writing this like a children’s alphabet book on purpose, styled like the books you used to read to me when I was a child. It’s not written using the whole alphabet, and not in order, just the most important letters for your character.

Let’s start with an L

L is for Listen – That never ending time for me to talk. Did you ever grow tired of being my confidant? Not even when I would go on for hours? I never remember you telling me you didn’t have time to talk. How could that be in this busy world?

F is for Friend - We are such great friends. A few years ago, when your hands had beginning signs of arthritis, you knit my green “Tree of Life” afghan and left it on my living room couch while I was at work. There was with a note you pinned on it that said “For my best friend Pat”. The afghan pattern is a hard one to follow, I tried it myself and gave up, but you didn’t.

Which naturally brings me to the letter K -

K is for Knitting – Your great talent. To turn a bundle of yarn, strings of colorful wools and cottons into “usable art”. This gift you gave your entire adult life. Afghans for fund raisers at Guardian Angels Church, blankets for police officers to give young children they were helping, you wanted children to wrap up in the warmth of a hand made blanket to feel loved. Hats for the homeless, scarves to sell for the Memory Care Unit at Auburn Manor, sweaters for friends, bandages for soldiers …. Just to name a few.

H is for Hero –It could also be for humility. I can hear you saying “Oh Pat” as my letter is being read out loud. You never boasted about yourself, and had a hard time receiving compliments. Recently I told you that YOU are my hero. Your battle with cancer and chemotherapy was fought without complaint. Did it hurt mom? I know it did, I saw it in your eyes, but you kept it to yourself. What courage.

I is for Integrity – You always kept your word, no matter what. Your word was your promise.

T is for Trustworthy – You lead by example. I think this gift helped me to BE the trustworthy accountant that I am. Ask any of my friends or coworkers – I do this to a fault. You taught me well!

G is for Grandmother -. You told me once you didn’t know if you would make a good grandmother, then you became one. “A real natural”, how could you have doubted yourself? Your grandchildren have been so blessed to have you in their lives.

This naturally leads again to L
L is for Love – It took me years to understand how to love as deeply as you do. One time as a frustrated parent, I asked your advice. You told me to just look at my son and tell him how much I love him. I followed it mom, and it worked. How wise!

N is for Nature – Oh, how you love nature. Your walks with your dog Cindy were some of your favorite times, weren’t they mom. AND -Our last outing together was to the Arboretum. You told me you didn’t think you would ever see another Fall. Well mom, you made it to another Fall. How you loved the Fall colors. You pointed out the contrast of the leaves as we drove through. This memory will live in me the rest of my life.

M is for MOTHER – You put your children first, ahead of everything else. This could be long so I’ll limit it to a childhood memory.
When I was in grade school how I looked forward to walking in the door at the end of the school day. There you would be sitting at the kitchen table smiling, asking about school, often with a plate of fresh baked cookies. I thought this was the way it was for everyone. I now know how special that was. If everyone had a mother like you, how could there be wars?

S is for Service – And this sums things up, doesn’t it mom. The summary of who you are, your life contributions –“Being of Service”. This is the thread that ran through everything you did. Even on Sundays you wheeled the residents from Auburn Manor to attend Mass in this room, as many as wanted to be here. You wouldn’t leave anyone out.

Thank you, thank you for being my mother. I will always love you.

Your Daughter & Best Friend,

Eulogy: Blog as a Transition to Eulogy
Transition to Keepsake Eulogy

Eulogy Sample 11: Personal eulogy for a blog.

You may remember Minnesota 2008 Bejing Olympic Games attendee Todd Bachman was murdered the morning of a volleyball tournament as his daughter was preparing for the court. The family set up a blog to handle worldwide comments and condolences for the family. There are times you will want to compose a mini-eulogy of very personal memories for the benefit of the family in the midst of their very public grief. Express your sympathy, recall a fond memory, merely sign your name in solidarity, or give encouragement, but do write or blog as a response to a tragedy. Too many people “don’t know what to say”, so they say nothing. Here is a sample to get you started:

Dear Bachman family, 8/9/08

My sincerest condolences to you concerning the tragic and untimely death of your dear Todd. May our Lord Jesus Christ comfort you with every comfort, every rest, and every encouragement He has already prepared for you at this time.

Could I share a remembrance with you? I met Mr. Bachman when I worked for Bachman’s European Flower Markets from 1975-1984. Todd was my boss’s boss at the Lyndale Store the last three years I was employed there as Merchandising Plan Coordinator for the 48 EFM stores. One day we were walking down the glass corridor of the store together. He inquired about my baby, and then our conversation redirected to the fine points of the merchandised display of the moment. He had an unending enthusiasm for the place—even in the dead August heat. A little old lady half his height marched up to us. She poked a finger toward his chest pocket and addressed him, her crickety voice reverberating from the glass and block walls to every customer and associate on the sales floor. “Young man, do you work here?” A piercing question that could just as well have been an accusation. A man twice his age or even half his authority would easily have been offended.

But he just got a quiet grin and said, “Well, yes, I do.”

“Young man, I need a clay pot, and I can’t seem to find a good one. Can you help me?”

Mr. Bachman could have snapped his fingers and delegated such a minor task. But he painstakingly ushered her as though she were a duchess right over to the dusty pots, deferring to her and discussing her needs as if they were as important as a delicate political negotiation. I went on with my duties delivering sales and inventory figures to department heads. When I came back through the corridor, he was still with her, so intent on providing a good shopping experience for her that he didn’t even notice me observing them.

That day, all three of us got smiles on our faces:
She, for bringing home a 19 cent prize; he for the satisfaction of seeing her pleased without revealing who he was, and me, for receiving an indelible lesson in stellar customer service and the delicate art of humility.

He was a special, honorable man I have been grateful to have known. Thank you for sharing him with the rest of the world. Jesus said, Matthew 6: 4 “ …and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” I can’t help but think that a purpose for this seemingly horrific set of circumstances you have had to live through this week is that the whole world can now come to know the value of Todd Bachman’s walk with the Lord. That somehow through this strange turn of bizarre events, he is finally being honored publically –worldwide-- for the many acts of secret kindness he showed all these years. And I can’t help but think that, even through the venue of this horrible tragedy, Jesus will be glorified, too. I think Mr. Bachman won’t mind sharing the limelight one bit…

Note: I happened to know the Todd Bachman family has a deep faith with Lutheran roots. I would probably not be as overt with scripture if I did not know the spiritual interests of the people. Be sensitive.

Remember to give permission to use your blog entry or personal note publicly, if you feel so inclined and think it might be good enough to use in a service, and include that permission in the original blog entry where appropriate. That way it saves precious family time playing telephone tag if they decide they would like to include it in a service or publication to commemorate the deceased.

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