Friday, December 16, 2011


I make obituaries for TV now and then, so when a particularly good one comes along, I take notice. I hope that you will not think me too morbid if I admit to a small collection of my favorites.

The death of Christopher Hitchens on Thursday brought this to mind. A famous (or infamous) atheist, he was once asked if, as he breathed his last, we might expect a deathbed conversion.

I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire, who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies.

And on Tuesday, the advertising executive Edie Stevenson passed away. She wrote the well-remembered TV commercial for Quaker cereal, "Three Brothers" in which the older boys conspire to use the youngest brother as a guinea pig when their mother serves a new breakfast cereal. “Let’s get Mikey. He won’t eat it. He hates everything.” Then the best line, "He likes it! Hey, Mikey!"

And from Ms. Stevenson's obit in the NYT:

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by her longtime partner, Gordon H. Price; two sisters, Daphne Stevenson Penttinen and Adelita Stevenson Moore; three sons, Steven, David and Donald Mann; and five grandchildren.

She also leaves a cat, Mikey.

But my favorite obit of all is Madeleine Pelner Cosman, a medieval studies expert and professor who passed away on March 2, 2006. From her obit in the NYT:

Ms. Cosman's husband, Bard, a plastic surgeon whom she married in 1958, died in 1983. Survivors include a daughter, Marin, of Scarsdale, N.Y.; a son, Bard, of La Jolla, Calif.; and four grandchildren. Information on other survivors could not be confirmed.

Ms. Cosman also leaves behind a vast library of illuminated manuscripts and a large collection of handguns.


Roberta X said...

If our lives on this earth are a sentence, we can at least provide our own punctuation.

All three examples did!

Old NFO said...

Mrs. Cosman sounds like the winner of the bunch :-)