Plain and Simple Folk

On Jan. 9, 2013, had he lived Richard Nixon would have been 100 years old. I know this fact because his life and his accomplishments were touted all day during the TV and radio news cycles, stories appeared in the daily newspaper, Blogs were written and talk show hosts reviewed, and in some cases revised, his life’s story. It’s a fact however that he resigned in disgrace as President of the United States.

I’m not here to judge him, but to raise a different idea. Raise a question actually. If in fact we’re all equal why doesn’t the ‘average’ person who may not have had a big public presence, discovered something that changed the world, held a prominent position, or committed a heinous crime, get equal air time?

I wonder if simple obituaries and public recognition in a home town newspaper might be a profound way to honor every humans life and stand as a reminder to us that there are important basic human qualities in all of us that might be worth remembering and highlighting …..again and again.

A sample obituary might go something like this:

Mary Austin Smith

Born January 27, 1908 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to the parents of the late Edward and Louise Wirth, died Thursday December 22 at St Elizabeth’s Nursing Home in Zelienople Pennsylvania. She was preceded in death by her husband, George Smith. Mary is survived by her sons, William A. Smith of Cranberry Twp. and Richard K. Smith of Denver Colorado; two grandsons, Jerome and Jason Smith; a great- grandson, Zachary and nieces and nephews.

Mary retired at the age of 70 as a secretary at the Dravo Corporation with 30 years service. She was the former Secretary/Treasurer of the Woman’s Knitting club in White Oak. She was also active all her adult life in humanitarian efforts to help with community programs aimed at alleviating hunger. In the last 15 years of her life she was a tireless supporter and advocate for Voter’s Right Programs in the State of Pennsylvania. Her friends universally referred to her as ‘someone who saw what needed done and got involved’. The most common characteristic that all her friends mentioned about her was that she was, ‘good people’, and ‘she always available to help out.’

Family and friends will be received on Sunday from 2-4 and 6-8 pm. at the Steward S. Russe Funeral Home, Zelienople where services will be held on Monday at 10:00 am. with Rev. William O’Brien officiating. Interment will follow in St Augustine’s Cemetery.

May she go in peace.

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