Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Final edition

Further praise for the modern obituary from Stefany Anne Golberg in The Smart Set from Drexel University.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 SPOW Convention and Awards reports

Kathy Haight penned "Obit writers share lives of regular folks," a report on the Society of Professional Obituary Writers convention held April 23-25, 2009, in Charlotte, N.C. The article appeared in The Charlotte Observer on Sunday, April 26, 2009.

Our thanks to Joe Strupp senior editor, Editor and Publisher, for sharing the list of SPOW Award winners with E&P online readers Monday, April 27, 2009.

We expect that firsthand reports on the convention will be posted soon by those who attended. Y'all come back again, y'hear? (Evidence that I, a Rust Belt resident, spent too much time in the South this past week.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

And the winners are . . . .

The winners of the 2009 Society of Professional Obituary Writers Awards were announced Saturday, April 25, 2009, at the organization's convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Ron Csillag, a freelance writer from Toronto, Ontario, who pens obits for The Globe and Mail, took home two of the five juried awards. He won awards for Best Body of Work and Best Obituary for an Average Joe with his obit for poet Eric Layman.

Holly Crenshaw of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earned top honors in the Best Obituary for a Well-Known Figure category with her obit for pianist/homemaker Dorothy Myers.

Dick Russ of WKYC-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, won Best Obituary honors for Broadcast Media with his obit for Cleveland Indians pitcher and announcer Herb Score.

The Best Online Obituary winner was Kevin Nance for an obituary titled "Don't Tell Chuck" - about Charleton Heston - which was published in Obit Magazine.

SPOW honored Gerry Hostetler, retired Charlotte Observer obituary columnist, with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gayle Ronan Sims, the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary writer who died April 16, was remembered with the unveiling of the Gayle Ronan Sims Award for Excellence, Professionalism and Spirit.

Also announced were the winners of the just-for-fun People's Picks online poll:
Body of Work: Tom Hawthorn, Globe and Mail;
Well-Known Figure: Sandra Martin, Globe and Mail, Richard Monette;
Average Joe: Gayle Ronan Sims, Philadelphia Inquirer,F. Culver, 100;
Online: Judy Bachrach, Obit Magazine, Yves St. Laurent;
Broadcast: Dick Russ, WKYC-TV, Herb Score.

Congratulations to the winners.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Philly Inky obit for Gayle Ronan Sims

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jeff Gammage's obituary for Inquirer obituary writer Gayle Ronan Sims ran in her home paper today - April 24, 2009 - eight days after she died at age 61.

Why the delay? Gammage described Gayle as:
an obituary writer who wanted neither a funeral nor an obituary for herself.

Her family tried to respect her wishes, but ultimately gave in to pressure from Gayle's peers and the realization that readers would wonder why her byline had disappeared.

Fellow members of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers (SPOW) will remember Gayle tomorrow (Sunday, April 25, 2009) during the SPOW Awards Luncheon in Charlotte, N.C., with the unveiling of the Gayle Ronan Sims Award for Excellence, Professionalism and Spirit.

The organization had planned several weeks ago - before Gayle went into the hospital for lung transplant surgery - to surprise her by establishing the award and presenting it to her.

Gayle had planned to act as the local host of the 2010 SPOW Convention in Philadelphia. Her colleagues will still hold the convention in Philly in her memory. Tentative dates: April 22-24, 2010.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chuck's parting gift — low, low rates

Check out this paid notice from the Arizona Republic:

Chuck P. Dimmick

Dimmick, Chuck P.
born December 29, 1958 in Riverside, CA passed away suddenly on April 18, 2009 while attending a NASCAR race to watch his favorite driver, Jeff Gordon. Chuck was the loving husband of Kristen and devoted father of Dillon. Chuck was the Director of Marketing for the Lund Cadillac Group. We are sure he would still want all to know that 0.9% financing is still available on all New 2008 Hummer H2's. A mass celebrating Chuck's life will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 24th at St. Patrick's Church - 10815 N. 84th St. Scottsdale, AZ. Arrangements handled by Hansen Desert Hill Mortuary 480-991-5800. In Lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Dillon Dimmick Donation Fund at any Bank of America.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Electronic Way of Death

Latest update on online memorials. Critical question apparently never asked: is anybody actually making money selling such stuff?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Farewell Gayle

Just got word from Adam Bernstein that Gayle Ronan Sims, obits editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has just died.

Many in obitworld were aware of her recent health setbacks. She never recovered from double lung transplant surgery last month.