Author Topic: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?  (Read 4896 times)

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bah12

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2014, 04:52:26 PM »
Even though it would strike me as odd, I'm sure that there are a million reasons why names would either be included or excluded.  The OP doesn't seem to know the circumstances or the relationships involved, so I don't really think it's worth the effort to speculate and wonder.  What's worse, is assuming that this was some sort of slight from Wilma to her late husband's kids.  For every sinister reason I can think of for this, I can think of a perfectly legitimate and explainable reason...so why automatically jump to the worse for Wilma?  Do you even know if she was the one that wrote the obit?

judecat

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2014, 04:53:09 PM »
But I may be close enough to one of the kids that I'd like the opportunity to give my condolences, and yet still not close enough to be in immediate contact with them.

And I can easily still not know their father's name.

To me it's just a matter of completeness, not even of "ooh, he was estranged from his kids." It's bad form to leave out names of a person's direct children in this situation. Grandkids, sure, but names of first-degree relatives should be given.


I would not have wanted my name mentioned in my father's obituary,  as I would not have wanted condolences from random acquaintances, because when he passed it was not like I had lost anyone close to me.  My parents divorced when I was 14,  and I never even met his second wife or his step children.   He didn't just divorce his wife,  he divorced his children also.   So 40 odd years later while his passing was sad,  it was no more sad than when I heard an old neighbor had died.

gramma dishes

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2014, 05:07:30 PM »
I don't think anyone's gossiping here at all! 

I think we're all just trying to figure out why certain family members might have been omitted from an obituary and whether or not an etiquette faux pas has been committed there --  and if there is an etiquette 'rule' pertaining to that subject, under what circumstances might such an omission of the names of certain family members be okay.

Yes, it does require a bit of speculation, but the speculating contributes to our understanding of why and how such a seemingly objectional thing might legitimately occur.  We're not talking about this particular specific man and woman.  We're talking about obituaries in general.

turnip

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2014, 05:12:06 PM »

To clarify on the gossip, I was referring to this statement....

It is certainly odd and fuel for gossip.    I can't think of any reason they would do that if not to indicate some form of estrangement, either way it's certainly a public hint at dirty laundry.    As you say, nobody's business but theirs, but certainly eyebrow raising.

'fuel for gossip' is not the same as 'rude'.   I think this is no one's business besides the families and if a friend came to me and said "Can you believe so-and-so wasn't mentioned in the obit" I'd bean dip my way out of there.   It just seems so deliberately unkind to turn this in to an excuse for digging and speculation.

TurtleDove

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #34 on: April 28, 2014, 05:17:41 PM »
It just seems so deliberately unkind to turn this in to an excuse for digging and speculation.

Yep.  I feel like if you truly knew and cared about the deceased or their family, there would be no need for speculation because you would know.  And if you were not close enough with the deceased or their family to know and instead felt the need to speculate, I guess I just question why.  For what purpose? 

Mikayla

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #35 on: April 28, 2014, 05:27:45 PM »
It just seems so deliberately unkind to turn this in to an excuse for digging and speculation.

Yep.  I feel like if you truly knew and cared about the deceased or their family, there would be no need for speculation because you would know.  And if you were not close enough with the deceased or their family to know and instead felt the need to speculate, I guess I just question why.  For what purpose?

There doesn't need to be a purpose.  It's human nature.  I think anytime someone does something against the norm, speculation is a given.  It's how the speculation is handled that determines rudeness. 

I would read this and wonder why.  Not rude.  If someone else reads it and calls the family up to get the lowdown, yes this is rude. 

IMO, the purpose of an obit is twofold.  It's to announce the death and also to honor the deceased, if the family wants this as bio type format.  Anything that detracts from this is generally not a good idea.

bah12

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #36 on: April 28, 2014, 05:33:29 PM »
I think speculation is something that just comes naturally so I'm not sure if I would call it rude.  Often, though, when I find myself speculating it just seems like wasted energy.  Maybe it can't be helped and maybe it can, but it's still a waste.

I don't think there's a 'rule' for writing obits (at least I couldn't find a common one when it came to a quick google search I just did), just lots of advice that I'm sure is complicated by family dynamics.  So, for me, I wouldn't blame anyone from wondering why the names were excluded, but would think that if they were close enough to Fred and Wilma they'd already know if there's a legitimate explanation or if Wilma (still not sure how we know it was her that wrote it) is just being mean-spirited and trying to throw one last slap in the face to her late husbands kids while she can.

I do, however, think it's extremely unkind and unproductive to assume the worst of people.  So, I am put off when I see statements that first target Wilma as being rude, petty, or with an agenda.  The OP isn't close enough to this situation to know the answer and it would be rude of her to ask about it, I think. It's safe to say that we'll never know the answer.

Debating on the general question about whether or not it would be rude , generically, to leave a child's name off the obit might be boring. I think most of us would agree that there are circumstances where it would be ok (I wouldn't force a name in the paper if the individual didn't want it there) and circumstances where it would be rude (doing so out of malice).

kherbert05

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #37 on: April 28, 2014, 06:40:28 PM »
It come off petty to me and reflects badly on the wife - because people will make assumptions. Unless he did not want his kid named. That can be tricky.

When my uncle died his obit - started with Jim is dead. My poor sister, who had recommended the funeral home, went into a panic. She thought that my Aunt who had aphasia had said this and it had ended up in the obit by mistake. Thankfully she called me first. I reminded her our uncle always said that is what he wanted his obit to say. Later my cousin posted that the line was not a mistake they were following her father's wishes. They apparently had people who were upset because they thought the paper had made an error.

People of the same degree of relationship should be listed the same way. [size=78%]When my Nanna died the obit listed her husband (who predeceased her) all her children (2 predeceased her), all the spouses including the Husband of her deceased daughter, and my Dad (her son-in-law) who had predeceased her, her siblings (living) and parents (dead) That was 25 maybe 30 people.  There was no way to list all the grandchildren/spouses and great-grandchildren. We would have had to take out a half page ad to do that -- we number somewhere near 60 with both groups. The uncle that was in charge of the obit made a point of telling us that stepkids including Older Niece. were included in the [/size]appropriate[size=78%] count. Her nieces and nephews (regular, great, and great grand) were simply listed as numerous because honestly no-one was ready to count that high (with all 3 degrees has to be 100 at least)[/size]
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 06:56:48 PM by kherbert05 »
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sammycat

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2014, 08:32:51 PM »
I'm wondering if Wilma has some sort of agenda by excluding them.

That's how it appears to me, too.

And me.

My very first thought upon reading the OP was 'what does Wilma have against her stepkids?'.  She may or may not be warranted in her actions, but looking at it from a stranger's point of view, she's the one who comes out looking bad. It basically comes across as airing her dirty laundry in public.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2014, 11:23:15 PM »
Are we talking about an obituary (which is normally a biography of the deceased - sometimes just a few paragraphs, sometimes a whole page depending on how famous they were) or a death notice (which is normally just a few lines, and anyone - friend or family - can put one in)?

If the former (an actual obit), than I do think the stepmother (assuming she wrote it) was very rude and heartless in not naming the bio-children. The only reasons I can think of to exclude their names would be if: (a) the deceased insisted he did NOT want them named; or (b) the bio-kids stated they did not want to be named.

If it's the latter (just a death notice), I don't think it's rude. Death notices are normally done by individual families, and it's probable that the adult bio-kids would do a separate one anyway.

kareng57

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #40 on: April 29, 2014, 12:42:22 AM »
But I may be close enough to one of the kids that I'd like the opportunity to give my condolences, and yet still not close enough to be in immediate contact with them.

And I can easily still not know their father's name.

To me it's just a matter of completeness, not even of "ooh, he was estranged from his kids." It's bad form to leave out names of a person's direct children in this situation. Grandkids, sure, but names of first-degree relatives should be given.


I disagree. My late Dh's brother cut ties with us a number of years prior to Dh's death.  There was therefore no reason to mention him in the obiturary.  If someone declares that he/she is no longer family - that's their choice.

MariaE

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #41 on: April 29, 2014, 01:47:15 AM »
But I may be close enough to one of the kids that I'd like the opportunity to give my condolences, and yet still not close enough to be in immediate contact with them.

And I can easily still not know their father's name.

To me it's just a matter of completeness, not even of "ooh, he was estranged from his kids." It's bad form to leave out names of a person's direct children in this situation. Grandkids, sure, but names of first-degree relatives should be given.

I don't disagree that it could be bad form to leave out the names.  I just tend to hear of someone's passing, whether it is "Sam Smith" or "Kelly's dad" or "Sue's brother" in the natural course of events - a direct phone call if I was close to the decedent or his family, an announcement at work if it is coworked or colleague related, an announcement to a facebook group for my gym or high school or college, or something similar.  I have never learned of someone I was close to or even knew tangentially via coming across an obituary in the newspaper.  I would think that would be a highly inefficient and morbid way to go about things!

Morbid or not, that was how my in-laws discovered that my grandmother died - because the death notice listed names of children and grandchildren. I hadn't thought to tell them myself yet, but I was extremely touched by the letter of condolence they sent me - in fact especially because I hadn't gotten around to telling them yet, but they'd discovered it themselves and thought of me.
 
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Ceallach

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #42 on: April 29, 2014, 01:59:37 AM »

To clarify on the gossip, I was referring to this statement....

It is certainly odd and fuel for gossip.    I can't think of any reason they would do that if not to indicate some form of estrangement, either way it's certainly a public hint at dirty laundry.    As you say, nobody's business but theirs, but certainly eyebrow raising.

'fuel for gossip' is not the same as 'rude'.   I think this is no one's business besides the families and if a friend came to me and said "Can you believe so-and-so wasn't mentioned in the obit" I'd bean dip my way out of there.   It just seems so deliberately unkind to turn this in to an excuse for digging and speculation.

Well I don't know if it's actually lead to gossip or not having absolutely no information other than the OP, but if it's a community inclined towards gossip (which many are) it certainly provides fuel for it.   My point was simply that if there is some sort of estrangement they're not making any effort to hide it. 
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baglady

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Re: Including the stepkids' names but NOT the bio-kids' names in obituary?
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2014, 10:56:28 PM »
I can think of lots of reasons why the bio-offspring would not be named in an obit, and only one of them is spite toward them on the widow(er)'s part.

It could be that the deceased himself, or the bio-offspring themselves, didn't want the names mentioned. This could be either because of a nasty, acrimonious estrangement, or a case of the bio-parent graciously stepping aside to let ex's new spouse raise the kids as mom/dad -- with or without legally terminating parental rights.

Or it could be the widow(er) tailoring the obit to the local paper's readership -- who don't have any connection to the deceased's bio-kids, so their names aren't relevant.

I worked at small-town newspapers in the 1980s/early '90s, and we ran obituaries-as-news-stories on everyone local who died, unlike big-city papers who only ran them on prominent people. But because they were free, they were very formulaic: Only immediate family members got named. So if you were the longtime live-in lover of the deceased, or the grandniece who lived with him and cared for him in his last years, you would not be mentioned by name in the obit.

These days, those same papers charge for obits, but people can write whatever they want, and name (or not name) whomever they want. I like that better, even if (a) it costs money, and (b) some people might get slighted by the family members writing the obit. People got slighted back in the days of free obits -- it was just the paper's call back then, and not the family's.
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