Some of a newspaper’s most touching stories appear each day in its obituary columns. They’re full of insights: Why people called this area home; what made them smile; the bonds they had with their family and friends; and the unusual hobbies that set them apart.
Nell Daum has overseen the daily obituary page the past 14 years for The Lima News. She is amazed about the interesting tidbits that cross her desk, most of which are written by family members in the chaotic hours following a loved one’s death.
These slices of life can make you laugh and cry, and we’ve seen Nell do both throughout the year. Often, we’ll read about a person and wish we had known them.
Anthony “Bud” Parrish, of Lima, was one of those people. He worked for Meadow Gold Dairy and “was well known as the man that delivered milk with a horse and wagon.” He died last month at the age of 92.
It is not uncommon for people like Parrish to be defined by their work.
Virginia “Jenny” Sheldon, 72, of Kenton “was a school bus driver in the years when it was unusual for a woman to be employed in that manner,” her obituary said. It added the driver’s seat on the bus “had to be raised on to a box for her to see over the wheel, and she wore a police whistle around her neck to maintain order.” She died Jan. 11.
Edward F. Morman, 83, of Miller City “loved to be out on the tractor working the ground or in the barn taking care of the pigs.” He died Jan. 29, 2012.
Many loved ones are remembered for their special traits.
Jared Paul Ferrell Meister, of Lima, “had the cleanest, whitest shoes of anyone.” He died way too soon on Jan. 17, 2012, at the age of 20.
If there ever was a “Dutch,” it was Warren C. Morris, 84, of Venedocia, who died on Jan. 15. A neighbor gave him the nickname “Dutch” as a toddler “because he wore little Dutch Boy overalls that were common during that time. He thought Dutch was his name when he started school.”
Dorothy Helmlinger, 96, of Quincy “made very good homemade noodles,” said her obituary on Jan 19, 2012.
Michael A. Verhoff, 54, of Ottoville loved dancing with his wife, “Dot,” to the music of Barry White before passing away on Jan. 17, 2012.
There were women of conviction,
Janet Lorene (Petty) Sims was “known to drug her children,” the obituary said. It explained, “She drug them to church twice on Sunday, to Wednesday night Bible study and any time the Church of Christ doors were open.” She also sang at that church “boldy with emotion and passion.” She died at age 83 on March 18, 2012.
Connie Young, 94, of Lima died Jan. 5. Her family noted, “A huge moment was where she got to vote for the first black president and received two birthday cards from President Obama.”
Pets are a common theme.
Sharon Ann Meccariello, 71, of Lima died Jan. 17 and was “preceded in death by her two Daschunds, Scampi and later Butch (the dog from hell.)”
Ronald J. “Ron” Truex, 80, of Lima raised swans for almost 25 years before his death on Feb.19.
George W. Patton, 87, of Delphos died on Feb. 24 and was preceded in death by a pet goat.
Some people just enjoyed helping out where they could.
Richard ‘Dick” Feathers, 84, of Delphos was a “ticket taker for the Delphos St. John’s Blue Jays for 25 years” before his death on Jan. 24, 2012.
The Jan. 28 obituary of Paul H. Baumgarten, 91, of Delphos reminded us of great achievements. “He was instrumental in helping to build the second computer while working for IBM. He was given the opportunity to work with some top scientists including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Thomas Watson.” When he retired in 1977, he moved back to Delphos and taught electronics at Lima Technical College for 23 years.”
And then there are special grandparents.
Harrietta “Kitty” Owen Moss, of Lima, was survived by 222 grandchildren when she died on Dec. 21, 2011, at age 79.
Denzel Ross, 91, a Lima grandfather who died on Jan. 18, 2012, “had a unique way of making his grandchildren feel special by giving them all a special nickname they would cherish forever.”
That’s the power of an obituary.
They’re a celebration of life, painting the picture of things we should cherish forever.
ROSES AND THORNS: A busy week in the garden.
Rose: Lima’s Charitable Italian American Organization sold 4,586 meals during its annual Italian dinner fundraiser on Palm Sunday.
Rose: To Allen County Sheriff Department Inspector Mark Murphy, who is rolling the dice and quitting his job to move to Hawaii.
Rose: To Larry Tracy, of Lima, whose idea was featured Saturday in the syndicated comic strip “Pluggers.” Tracy’s submission noted “a Plugger knows his wardrobe is old when all the labels read ‘Made in USA.’’’
Rose: To Marilyn and Jim Carder, of Bath, and all of the area sports fans like them who bundled up last week in winter coats, hats and blankets to watch their favorite high school team in track, baseball and golf.
Rose: To Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald, who visited the Lima facility last week.
Thorn: To Josh Buckland and Tristan Parker, both 18 and from Ottawa. They were in a moving vehicle when Buckland showed Parker his new Glock handgun and accidentally shot Parker in the leg.
Thorn: To Randall Murray, 55, of Delphos. He is accused of pushing his wife out of a moving vehicle.
Thorn: Starting May 1 and until further notice, funding cuts are causing the Air National Museum of Dayton will be closing popular exhibits such as John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One and the supersonic XB-70 bomber.
PARTING SHOT: Think again if you believe lawmakers don’t know how to raise revenue. After all, they came up with the formula to put a high tax on liquor and then raise the other taxes that drive people to drink.