Team Spirit

A Nascar fan whose ashes took a few laps around the track, a Dallas Cowboys fan who wanted all who attended her service to wear Cowboys gear, an Orioles fan whose family chose an Orioles-themed casket…these and more true sports fans are featured in ESPN’s short documentary, “Team Spirit.”

A funeral director shares the story of one memorable service: A woman explained, “My husband is ill and he doesn’t want to have a traditional service…when he passes away, We want it to seem like he just fell asleep watching the game.”  So at his memorial service, they sat him up in a recliner facing a television with the Steelers playing. He was wearing Steelers gear and had his favorite Steelers’ blanket. As the funeral director explains, “He didn’t love them until he died, he loved the Steelers even in his death.”

View these and other stories in “Team Spirit.” Continue reading

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5 condolences: going back to school

Fall is back-to-school time… but that’s a phrase that’s got more than one meaning. We mostly think of schoolchildren ending another fun summer and settling in to a new year of learning, but there are also the many adults who have decided to shake up their worlds and go back to school – to get their high school diploma, to finish a long-deferred college degree, to train for a new career – to change their lives.

Many of those adults were inspired by a special friend or family member who encouraged them to follow that dream. Today we share five condolences that remember and thank those inspirational people. Continue reading

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Legacy of a 9/11 victim

Robert FazioA 41 year old patrolman who had worked for the New York Police Department for 17 years, Robert Fazio Jr. was three years away from retirement when he saw the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  He was called from his precinct to help people out of the shopping plaza beneath the World Trade Center.  He saved many lives on September 11, and he sacrificed his own life trying to save more.

Two days before the 10th anniversary of the attacks, we received a Guest Book entry in patrolman Fazio’s Guest Book that gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. It was from the wife of one of the men he saved that day: Continue reading

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Two years of @Legacy

@Legacy is celebrating an exciting anniversary this week – two years of blogging! Over those years, Katie and I and our many guest bloggers have really enjoyed sharing tidbits about and memorialization with our readers. And we love seeing which stories you most want to read – we think it’s a fascinating glimpse into what interests Legacy’s users and the internet as a whole.

Our blog software gives us detailed statistics that help us see how our words affect our readers. Last year, I talked about this when I shared some of the most common – and some of the most unusual – search terms that bring readers to @Legacy. For this anniversary, I want to spotlight the most-read stories from 2012 so far, and share how identifying these stories helps us understand our readers and do a better job of writing this blog. Continue reading

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Remembering with Memorial Sites

Six years ago today, we were stunned by the news that Comair Flight 5191 had crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 49 of the 50 people aboard.  We immediately created a Guest Book through which people could share condolences for all the victims.  But we felt there should be more could do to honor lost lives in situations like this one.

Our content and technical teams began discussions about leveraging our technology to better respond to events with mass casualties. Those discussions led to the creation of Legacy Memorial Sites. Continue reading

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Pet lovers remembering veterinarians

My dog loves the vet.

“Who wants to go to the vet? Me!”

It’s not normal, I know. Pets are supposed to hate the vet. But Toby’s got a few good reasons for his enthusiasm. He gets to go for a car ride! The nice lady pets him and tells him he looks handsome and healthy. Dr. Stacy might poke him a little bit, but when it’s all done she gives him a treat – and he gets to go in the car AGAIN!

Toby isn’t alone in loving the vet – and I’m not the only pet owner who thinks my dog’s vet is pretty wonderful. We’ve recently noticed a trend of folks remembering beloved veterinarians by adding photos of their pets to the vet’s Guest Book. Once others see a pet photo or two in a vet’s Guest Book, it can build into a spectacular – and very furry – photo gallery. Here are a few of our favorites. Continue reading

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5 condolences: hot summer days

I grew up in California’s central valley – a place known for its hot summer days.  I’m pretty sure my brother and I spent more time in our neighbor’s pool than in our own house during the summer months.  We spent endless hours playing marco polo, diving for rings, and seeing who could hold their breath the longest under water. We stayed in the cool water as long as possible to beat the heat.

This week we share five condolences about memories from hot summer days: Continue reading

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1,000 stories – and more to come

We recently passed an exciting milestone on The Obit Report – we posted our 1,000th story.

On The Obit Report, we share stories of the fascinating lives we read about every day here at – both celebrities we miss, and regular folks we wish we could have known. When we write about celebrities, we focus on the stars that we – and our readers – love the most. So it’s totally fitting that our 1,000th post was a memory of one of the most iconic TV stars of the 1980s, Sherman Hemsley (a.k.a. George Jefferson). Continue reading

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5 condolences: ice cream trucks

A clanging bell, a whistle, the melody of “Turkey in the Straw” – every child knows the unmistakable sounds of the neighborhood ice cream truck.  And while a truck full of ice cream is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face, some ice cream men and women are extra special. They know the names of the children on their routes as well as their ice cream of choice (always fudgsicles for me!), they offer big smiles, and they make each child feel like she is a favorite customer.

This week, we share five condolences about the men and women behind the wheels of neighborhood ice cream trucks: Continue reading

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Top 10 hobbies mentioned in obituaries

According to the 2010 American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend an average of 5 hours each day on sports and leisure activities. And more than half of that time is spent watching television.  But watching TV is one of the least common activities mentioned in obituaries.

Reviewing the more than 10 million obituaries in’s database, we discovered that there are 100 times more obituaries that mention traveling compared to obituaries that mention watching TV. I suppose that’s not too surprising – most people don’t really want their loved ones to be remembered for the many hours they spent relaxing on the couch in front of a television.  

So how do they want their loved ones to be remembered?  Read on to see the top 10 hobbies mentioned in obituaries: Continue reading

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