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Specific details in obits

Obituaries, once written for newspapers by obit writers and placed in the news sections, are now done by family and friends and placed as paid classified ads.

As in any writing, the best obits contain specific details.

A former work colleague, now at WSU, sent along an obit about a long-ago WSU student who recently died doing what she loved, as the cliche goes. I applaud the honesty about her demise in the excerpt that follows:

After the death of her husband, Patricia fulfilled a  dream and bought a 41-foot sailboat. She certainly was captain of her boat and learned about sailing, navigation, and caring for her boat. She hired Jan Vos, a young Dutch sailor, and together they sailed through the Panama Canal and to the Dutch Lesser Antilles. It was her dream to live on the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. She loved living on her boat with her dogs, and made many friends in her travels.

Pat had moved back to Bonaire to be near her friends of many years about one month before her accidental death. Pat was going to her boat at the marina with two bags of groceries. She tripped, dropping her groceries and losing one flip-flop on the pier. She fell, hitting her head as she went into the water.


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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.