Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

When obituaries go viral

by Patt Morrison

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A congregation signs the attendance register at a funeral in Wellington Cathedral in Wellington, New Zealand on March 26, 2002. Robert Patterson/Getty Images

Val Patterson’s July 10th obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune read as follows:

“As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn't even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I'm sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it.”

The obit has gone viral on email and Facebook, prompting conversation about what the current trends are in obituaries. Are they longer? More personal? Has social media been a catalyst for any changes?


What do you think about this obituary trend?


Larken Bradley, staff obituary writer for The West Marin Citizen, a country weekly in Northern California

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