‘Kicked the bucket’ and other colorful obituaries

I confess I’m a regular reader of the obit page. When I come across someone whose formal obituary uses a phrase like “kicked the bucket,” I have to read it.

This happened today, and it provides another example of the “small world, small town” nature of where I live in Central New York.

I didn’t know Doug Burdick, whose bittersweet obit points out that he not only kicked the bucket, but did so on Valentine’s Day — reuniting him with his wife, who died in 2011.

The rest of the obit certainly didn’t disappoint. As for the planned celebration of his life (not a funeral), “Doug left specific written demands. Don’t make a fool of yourself, show up the way you always dress, No Monkey Suits. No tears welcome, just smiles. Relax, eat, drink, party and enjoy yourself. Grrrrrrr!”

Here’s the small-town connection — in lieu of flowers, he asked that contributions be made to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization I’m very familiar with. Mr. Burdick’s grandson, Bryce, is shaving his head March 1 in Syracuse to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Bryce is a member of a team of young kids, “Bodie’s Baldacious Baldies,” led by Bodie C., a fine young man I know. Here’s how to donate to Bryce’s efforts.

On the topic of colorful obits, I highly recommend “The Dead Beat,” a wonderful book by Marilyn Johnson about the art of obituary writing.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in cancer, Irish Investigations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to ‘Kicked the bucket’ and other colorful obituaries

  1. I hardly ever read the obits, maybe I should start! What’s that old joke, every morning I get the paper and read the obits to see if I’m in them?? A George Burns joke maybe?

    Love that you’re promoting a cause that’s important to you Jim. ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the obituaries every day as part of my job. It’s sad. And sometimes, it’s not. Often times the words left behind by the deceased or one of their loved ones leaves me feeling uplifted for the love and life that existed and is being celebrated. Thank you Jim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim McKeever says:

      Colleen, I think the best obits are the ones written by the deceased — of course, those are situations in which the person has the ability, time and forethought to do so. I wish that were the case more often. Your job must be very rewarding as well as occasionally very difficult. Jim


  3. chmjr2 says:

    My wife reads the obits everyday. I use to kid her about it until one day she read one to me. It concerned a person who had lead a very full life. She told me she liked reading about people who lived and lived well. By that she met a full and useful life. Keeping all this in mind perhaps I should write my own so I don’t sound too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim McKeever says:

      Charles, that’s a great idea to write your own (and I don’t think it’s the least bit morbid). Case in point: if you recall Gertis McDowell, the Syracuse man who was a fixture on the SU campus in his wheelchair … There hasn’t been an obit on him, at least locally. Maybe there will be one some day, either here or in his native Alabama, but what if nobody writes it? How sad, to pass from this earth and have no one take official notice. As a genealogist, you know better than most how important such records are.


  4. Jim he sounds like he was a bit of a character, what a great piece of advice from the grave. My Dad use to read the obituaries and I use to think it was a morbid practice as a child. Not so much now. Having a smile at someones funeral, thinking about all the good times can help me get through it. Mostly when you know they lived a grand live.


  5. markbialczak says:

    Finding the gold even after the mine has shut down. Good job, Jim. You have a sharp pick axe.

    Liked by 1 person

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