This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Pre-written Obits

Whenever I read the obituary of, or a feature article about someone famous who just died, I find myself wondering if it was pre-written.  By pre-written, I am referring to what newspapers call "advances" or those obit stories that the paper's editor previously assigned to be written and had stashed for future use when the subject did pass away.  

Several years ago I read something about this process and how newspapers have a number of these articles on file.  For example, this 2014 New York Times story (click here)   noted that the Times had approximately 1700 advances on file.  (I'm thinking that that number is even bigger today given that so many famous old farts are still hanging around and could punch out at anytime.)  

However, the Times article did have an interesting caveat by noting that an advance story about someone's anticipated death invariably ensures that he/she will live on for several more years.  (I got to think that  Queen Elizabeth's and Jimmy Carter's are good examples of that phenomena.)   The article mentions how Liz Taylor's advance was written in 2005 but had to be updated when she really did pass in 2011.  The ironic thing about the Liz story though, is that she outlived the person who had originally written the story.   Maybe the author should have written his own obit so he could have outlived Liz.)  

All of this occurred to me just now when I just read an extended Washington Post front page article on George Schultz and his passing Saturday (click here and ck out GOP Force Aided.....)   I don't know for certain that this was an advance article, but it is so well researched and written that it sure sounds like it was.  (That Schultz was 100 years old also leads me to think the WashPo may have had it in the files somewhere.)

Buzzy's 17 June 2009 Enterprise front page obit/article (click here) was not an advance.  The article was written by Jesse Yeatman who did a great job penning it in the days following Buzzy's passing on 11 June.  Jesse attended the funeral and the post-funeral get together at the Store where he interviewed a number of folks for the article.  I am forever grateful to Jesse for his efforts on writing such a nice tribute to my father.

To read rest of story click here

Music-wise here's a little (1:37) ditty from Elvis with some great lines one of which popped into my head as I wrote the above - "Don't bury me cuz I'm not dead yet."

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