The night after his death, a group of us sat around the dining room table, trying to compose John’s obituary. My brother came up with the pithy observation that one of my more cynical comments was “putting the bitch in obituary”. Now I strongly suggest you don’t fill that particular bill, but there’s lots of tasks that need doing for memorials—if you’re able to help out through writing or artwork, it can be very much appreciated.
RJF wrote the final obituary and published it in the (late) Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I was so grateful for her handling this critical task, not to mention she did an amazing job of summing up John’s life. An old friend in Austin had it published in the Austin American-Statesman for our Texas friends and family.
John’s talented staff at work designed and produced a website in his memory—it was wonderful. It captured his design work and spirit perfectly and held a guest book for friends to sign and contribute photos. I loved reading it and going through it. The staff also prepared a slideshow at the funeral from photos they worked all week gathering and mounted photographs of his life on foam-core for putting up around the house during the week of the funeral. They also designed, produced and printed up the programs for the service. John would have been so pleased with all of them for their great work… not to mention their tremendous design sense. They did him proud.
If you’re skilled at doing any of these tasks, it’s a great kindness and such a wonderful thing to do. I knew this all needed doing, but just didn’t have the capability for doing it at the time. All these friends did the hard work, then would bring things by for me to proofread or to be sure it was what I was looking for—and of course it was. They made a difficult week so much easier. And I’m still grateful to have the fruits of their labors as lovely tangible memories. Even if you can’t get something done that week, a memorial book or website is much appreciated.
I’d still recommend keeping the bitch out of obituary, however.
The website done by his talented staff is at: www.johnlylesanford.com. The original obit that RJF wrote is there too. It’s a good read.