Press-Republican

Columns

February 22, 2012

Obituary information can reveal an interesting life

It's an awful thing to admit, but I read the obituaries in the newspaper before I read anything else. Some people say it's a good day if your name isn't there.

The "best" obituaries, if that word can be used in such a circumstance, are the ones that tell who a person really was during his or her lifetime. That's not to say they were famous, but what stories they would tell if they could talk.

I read with great interest the recent obituary for Capt. Robert E. King. What an interesting man he must have been. I wish I could have interviewed him.

King served aboard the Liberty ship SS Charles E. Poston during World War II, delivering supplies and ammunition for the war. His ship made 12 runs transporting troops from Liverpool, England, to the Omaha Beachhead during the invasion of Normandy. He went on to serve again in the Korean and Vietnam wars. I can only imagine the experiences a man would face during such trying times.

Later, he sailed for the United States Lines, and his wife, Arline, took care of the orchard they owned and raised their children on the Mace Chasm Road in Keeseville. Imagine what Arline's days and nights must have been like with her husband at sea, and the challenges of parenting and business. Their children, grandchildren and family can be justly proud of such a wonderful heritage.

Our older citizens are passing away and taking their stories with them. The farmer who started out with horses to plow the fields, the teacher who began her career in a one-room schoolhouse or somebody who grew up in the big city during the early 1900s; they all have a story to tell that they probably don't think is important. From where I stand, as a journalist and a genealogy researcher, there is always somebody who will be mesmerized by what you have to share.

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