Monday, October 5, 2009

Two Double Funerals: Efficient, Appropriate, and a Trifle Intense

In a few minutes, I hope to be talking to a couple of newspapers in northern Illinois, where my father's and mother's cremains ("cremated remains") will be interred - God willing - later this week.

For a number of good reasons, I've got the responsibility of deciding just what sort of obituary my parents will have. Happily, most of the work's already done. I've posted my father's obit. earlier, and decided to go with what appeared in a North Dakota paper, for my mother's. Here's hers:

Dorothy Gill

Dorothy passed away on Saturday, February 23, 2008 at the Hillsboro Medical Center Nursing Home at the age of 94.

Dorothy Marie Hovde was born on May 14, 1913, the daughter of Ole and Gunda (Olson) Hovde. She grew up on the family homestead just west of Hillsboro. She received her education from Hillsboro High School in 1930. She then furthered her education at the University of Minnesota where she majored in English and minored in Music. Dorothy also earned a graduate music degree from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. In the 1930s and 1940s she taught piano and violin in the Grand Forks area as a member of the Northwest Music Academy. She then earned graduate library service degrees from the University of Illinois. She worked in the Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA) library.

While at the University of Illinois she met her future husband, Bernard Gill. They were united in marriage in August of 1949 in Hillsboro, ND. They moved to Moorhead, Minnesota in 1950 where they lived until 1983. Dorothy was very active in her church where she taught Sunday school and was also active in the American Association of University Women. Upon Bernard's retirement, they moved to Dorothy's family farm west of Hillsboro, ND.

Dorothy, is survived by her husband, Bernard of Hillsboro; her son, Brian (Catherine) Gill of Sauk Centre, MN; and her grandchildren, Naomi, Sara, Deborah and Peter Gill.

Apart from the spelling of a name, and a bit of punctuation, that's from the Grand Forks Herald, Sunday, March 2, 2008. The rest of the obituary - a few lines - read: "A memorial service will be held at a later date" and that arrangements were done by the Wildeman Funeral Home in Hillsboro.

That "later date" turned out to be a year later, which I think was appropriate, under the circumstances. Both my mother and father's bodies were cremated, their ashes (more like cinders, actually) commingled, and put in two urns.

Last week, we interred one urn in the soil of a cemetery near Hillsboro, North Dakota. This week, I'll be seeing to the interment of the other urn in northern Illinois.

Two double funerals about a week apart is a fairly intense experience, I've discovered. I teared up, getting these last few paragraphs written.

Hats off, by the way, to everyone I dealt with at the Wildeman Funeral Home, in Hillsboro: I deeply appreciate the way they handled this rather protracted set of procedures. And, to my father: for setting nearly all of this up with them.

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