Most of his noteworthy accomplishments happened in said middle part
December 2, 2011 12:56 PM   Subscribe

A life well remembered: a quirky obituary endears a Connecticut professor to a new audience
posted by Frank Grimes (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Bravo, sir.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:02 PM on December 2, 2011

posted by cool breeze at 1:11 PM on December 2, 2011

Not only was this man able to inspire such an obituary, he raised a son capable of writing it. I salute him.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:14 PM on December 2, 2011 [4 favorites]

Another example of why teachers are the most influential people in any of our lives.*

* -- Now, how about we compensate them properly for the tremendous work many of them do?
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

They should all be this memorable.

Mine would probably include "posting of TMI on her Facebook and saying she wanted to die with a smile on her face and a lighted sparkler poking out of her behind".
posted by stormpooper at 1:22 PM on December 2, 2011

... and a lighted sparkler poking out of her behind".

posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Very sweet. How sad that someone with such a lively intellect succumbed to dementia. Losing the ability to read would be my personal nightmare.
posted by bq at 1:24 PM on December 2, 2011

It's funny--I read the obituary first and wondered exactly what the article said: if he had written it himself before he died. Then I looked at the line about the son and said, no, I bet HE wrote it. What do you know.

I love obituaries and read them regularly--in this paper, nonetheless. So of course I chose this morning not to read them; I would have loved finding this on my own rather than on the blue. It'll go up there with my all-time greats, though (along with the man who was apparently so proud of finishing Finnegans Wake that he included that fact in his obit, and this guy, whose obit said that "Some of his favorite things were his chainsaw, duct tape, Tootsie rolls, peanuts and catching squirrels!" (I read that to my husband and he said he suspected that all of the former were used for the latter.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:25 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mark me down as being strongly in favor of going out with style and humor...
posted by jim in austin at 1:33 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, this is loving and graceful.

On a related note, I've always wanted it publicly known that, should I die in some particularly ridiculous freak accident, I saw the humour in it as I went.
posted by bicyclefish at 1:43 PM on December 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

And true to his love of Russian literature, the password for callers seeking information at the hospital about his condition was "Vanya," an ode to the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov -- a detail his family is sure he would have loved.
SONIA. What can we do? We must live our lives.

Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then dear, dear Uncle, we shall see that bright and beautiful life; we shall rejoice and look back upon our sorrow here; a tender smile—and—we shall rest. I have faith, Uncle, fervent, passionate faith.

[SONIA kneels down before her uncle and lays her head on his hands. She speaks in a weary voice]

We shall rest.

[TELEGIN plays softly on the guitar]

We shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see all evil and all our pain sink away in the great compassion that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and tender and sweet as a caress. I have faith; I have faith.

[She wipes away her tears]

My poor, poor Uncle Vanya, you are crying!


You have never known what happiness was, but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest.

[She embraces him]

We shall rest.

[The WATCHMAN'S rattle is heard in the garden; TELEGIN plays softly; MME. VOITSKAYA writes something on the margin of her pamphlet; MARINA knits her stocking]

We shall rest.
posted by zamboni at 1:54 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

RIP, Prof.

I suspect he would have enjoyed this journal, which has also met its demise.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:57 PM on December 2, 2011

When I go, that's how I want to go.
posted by jquinby at 2:12 PM on December 2, 2011

When I go, that's how I want to go.

I don't want to go the way he did, but I'd sure love to be remembered the way he was.

I need to go about producing an awesome child. And being more awesome myself.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:36 PM on December 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

This felt good to read. For my dad's memorial we served shots of his favorite bourbon. Personally, I have always been desirous of have a New Orleans Jazz Funeral.
posted by DaddyNewt at 4:21 PM on December 2, 2011

If you like his obituary, it's a sure bet you will also like this one, for Grace Louella Nenninger, age 93 (and a half), from the small town newspaper where my mother lives.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, and son Larry and is survived (amazingly, considering the grief she gave them) by her daughters Franke Gill, of Dallas, Marty Mills, of Cloudcroft, Sue Kehoe, of Artesia, and Teresa Bornmann, of Alamogordo, who were comforted in knowing she kept all who were able to visit her laughing until the end.

The photo alone is worth a click.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:25 PM on December 2, 2011 [8 favorites]

One of my favorite obits.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:32 PM on December 2, 2011 [3 favorites]

Thanks for that, MexicanYenta. Flagged as fantastic.
posted by Songdog at 7:32 PM on December 2, 2011

Thanks for posting this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:14 AM on December 3, 2011

If there is a heaven, and a just God, those two will put on nightly shows in All-Purpose Room B for all to enjoy.

Also, we have got to find a way for URLs to not ruin full-justification.
posted by gjc at 8:30 AM on December 4, 2011

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