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May 29, 2020 Beyond The Dash

May 2020: Our 5 Favorite Obituaries

A monthly roundup of inspirational obituaries honoring regular Joes and Janes

May 2020: Our 5 Favorite Obituaries
These life stories published in May 2020 tell the stories of regular folks who made a big difference in their communities. (Unsplash/Bruce Mars)

Approximately 4.5 million people die each month globally. Of those, thousands are memorialized in written tributes. Whether the family publishes in the newspaper, online, or in a more private manner, these stories make up our collective history. 


This year, Beyond the Dash is curating a monthly selection of obituaries each month to highlight special life stories. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite life stories from the month of May.


1. Michael Records


According to Michael Records' Cumberland Times-News obituary, his tragic death was the result "of eating a fresh, green vegetable for the first time in his 75 years. To the best understanding of medical personnel, his heart was unable to withstand the sudden shocking presence of concentrated vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants." 


No doubt, Michael leaves behind loved ones who share his unique sense of humor and "sarcastic wit." His obituary keeps the remembering of his life story lighthearted and fun, while detailing his love of family and "often unwarranted optimism." His heartfelt obituary perfectly captures his personality and accomplishments, making it one of our favorite obituaries of the month. 


There's more to this story. Read Michael Records' full life story here.


2. Dorothy Collins


Stylish and bold, Dorothy Collins's obituary describes her as "a pioneer woman with the style and grace of Coco Chanel, a very private person who loved talking to strangers." Her obituary photo reflects the creative, striking woman behind the life story.


She was a woman of many accomplishments, from "managing the CN Tower's Gift shop" to leading "the CandyStripers of Lions Gate Hospital." Dorothy is also remembered as being a skilled artist, using her creative talents to make dolls, design costumes and sketch the streets of San Francisco. Her obituary paints the portrait of a well-rounded and beloved lady. 


Read more about Dorothy's life, and see her stylish obituary photo, here.


3. J. David Garmaise


"Activist and a writer, an analyst and a critic", J. David Garmaise passed away "following a determined battle with liver cancer." However, his life story lives on in the Ottawa Citizen published by his family on May 9, 2020. 



"David was an activist and a writer, an analyst and a critic. He was at the forefront of the gay liberation movement Ottawa in the 1970s and 80s. A banner flies in downtown Ottawa, his image silhouetted, naming him a Community Hero by Ottawa's Village Legacy Project."



His life's work is documented in his obituary, cementing his place in LGBTQ history as an icon and an activist. Described as "quirky, fun-loving, old-fashioned", David is also remembered for his "dry wit, and the ability to laugh at himself."


The obituary is more than a life story — it's also a love story, bookended by mentions of "his devoted partner, Wat Khantaraphan." The story closes with a special acknowledgment of their love:



"The family has much love and appreciation for Wat, who in his beautiful way, cared for Davy throughout his illness."



Read more about David's iconic life here


4. Maria Neely-Feldkamp


The family of Maria Neely-Feldkamp perpetuated her practice of documenting her journey in a Beyond the Dash obituary published in May 2020. It tells the story of a woman who always dreamed of having a family, and worked tirelessly to provide for hers:



"Maria took on many jobs and responsibilities to provide for her family. She worked at the Life Care Center in Glendale, Arizona, the United Methodist Outreach Ministries Homeless Shelter, and worked as a certified nursing assistant in a local nursing home. Maria also did waitressing, telemarketing and provided childcare. She was a woman of many qualities, she could do almost anything, and if you asked her children, she did it all."



That dream came true. In beautiful detail, the obituary explores her lifelong friendship with Sharon, a "kindred spirit." According to her life story, "The bond of friendship between Maria and Sharon was more like a sisterhood and it was a treasured tapestry that they shared from childhood until Maria's death."


She's described as both a poet and a fighter; as she wrote poetry, she also battled cancer. This battle was documented in a book, as well as a blog article. It's evident that Maria lived a full life that was sadly cut short. This obituary pays tribute to her relationships, talents and bravery.


There's more to this story. Read Maria's incredible life story on Beyond the Dash.


5. Arthur Murray


Arthur Murray's auto-obituary acts as a final message to his loved ones, while detailing his family's history, including their emigration from Northern Ireland to Canada during the Great Depression, settling in Prince Rupert for 70 years.


He speaks directly to his family, making clear his love for each one of them:



"As I depart this earth for good then, I want all of them to know that Pop and Granma felt so blessed to have them around us and to make us so proud of them."



Arthur's story is a unique take on the auto-obituary, and gives readers a glimpse into a man who is consciously closing the final chapter of his own life.


Arthur's auto-obituary is a must-read. Explore his story here


Monthly wrap-up


Each month, Beyond the Dash features touching obituaries of regular people who lived remarkable lives. If you see a noteworthy obituary, keep us in the loop! Email us a link to the story at hello@beyondthedash.com, and we might just feature it in our monthly spotlight. 

Your loved one had a remarkable life. Tell their story, and we’ll publish it online for free.

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