Back in J-School at MSU we were taught the importance of writing succinct, accurate obituaries. Now with the disappearance of so many newspapers I have to wonder where the obit deal will flow to. I heard recently about papers who charge for obituaries, and about funeral homes who charge for writing them, then put a handling surcharge on top for placing them. Things are changing, sports-fans and not for the better.
This is a long blog – for a reason. Read to the end to get the point. I have purposely failed with succinctness on this one.
Nevertheless I also find old obituaries interesting to peruse. They are useful in finding names to use for a novel, and even details and minor plot possibilities. In the interests of edification, I submit the following obits and bits all from the UP in days gone by.
D 1923: Mrs. Matlena Bajari, 77, widow of the late A.A. Bajari, died at her home in Blue Jacket Monday night following an illness of three weeks. Born in Finland.
D1929: Thomas F. Banberry, 65, died in Flint after moving there two years ago.
D1927: William V. Varkell, 90, died Wednesday morning at Lake Superior General Hospital. He had been ailing for some time and while his death was not unexpected, it is keenly regretted by his many friends. Born in England.
D1930: Benjamin T. Barry, 50, died suddenly Wednesday noon at his home in Houghton. A heart attack as the cause of death. He had just finished shoveling a path and was sitting in a chair in his home when he was stricken. Born in Jackson, MI. Educated as a pharmacist.
D1927: Fred Barshat, 77, died in Cleveland. He left with his family four years ago.
D1924: Mrs. Thomas E Bawden, died in Santiago, California after a brief illness. She lived in Lake Linen and Laurium before accompanying her husband to California, where she since made her home.
[Do you huncheth the feeling that moving away from the UP can be a fatal decision? The obits certainly point that way without explicitly linking A to B. But I digress.]
D1921: Mrs.Albert Beakly, 64, died yesterday at the family home in Hancock, after an illness of three months. Born in Ireland.
D1928: Albert Beakly, 77, passed away in St Joseph’s Hospital shortly after 10 PM last evening. Death followed an illness of about two years.
D1921: Mrs. Ernestina Beraumont, 54, died at St. Joseph’s Hospital yesterday morning following an operation. Moved to Houghton when she was eight years old.
D1924: John Becker, 65, well known mining man, passed away in the home of his son in-law. Headline reads: “John Becker is Summoned,” which sounds ominous. On the other hand, maybe it is a bit like a subpoena, eh?
D1929: Thomas O. Bennett, 81, copper country pioneer, died last night at his home. He had been seriously ill for the last week. Moved from Vermont at age eight.
D1921: Mrs. Mary E. Berman, 76, esteemed pioneer resident of Calumet, died Sunday morning at the family home, following an illness of several months. Born in Norway.
D1924: Mrs. John Betosky died at St. Joseph’s Hospital
D1924: William A. “Bill” Boag, 26, former well known Calumet high school athlete died yesterday at the home of his sister in Greenacres, Washington. The deceased graduated from Calumet H.S. in 1910. Was a member of the baseball team and one of the strongest members of the school’s track team.
D1924: John Bond, 66, died at his home in Detroit Monday, after an illness of short duration. Born in England. Left Calumet five years ago.
D1927: William Bond, 67, retired mining captain and the most ardent fan that high school athletics of Ironwood have ever had, was stricken last night while he was spurring his boys on to victory at the Luther L. Wright Gymnasium and a few hours later died at Newport Hospital, where he was taken. Born in Cornwall, England
D1924: Frank T. Bovidson, 64, died in Behlehem PA on Feb. 17. He made his home in Calumet for 38 years, having been a member of the C & H police force. He left Calumet three years ago and visited here this past summer.
D1924: Louis Boudreau, 73, oldest C&H employee resideing in Lake Linden and one of the oldest in Houghton County. Born in Canada
D1921: Mrs. Joseph Bouraseau, 64, died on the Fourth of July received in a car accident in Tonawanda, New York. She died of a skull fractured a few hours after the accident.
D1924: Mrs. Angeline Bourdage, 71, passed away Friday night after an illness of 10 years. Born in Canada.
D1921: Mrs. Fanie Bowden, 66, died yesterday in Dodgeville at the family residence. Born in England.
D1928: Oliver Boyer, 68, died suddenly while at work yesterday morning. He had been driving a city team, complaining of feeling ill. He seated himself on the ground, toppled over into a faint. He was taken to Lake Superior General Hospital. Heart failure is believed to be the cause of death. He had been in failing health. Born in Canada.
D1921: Two of the oldest citizens of the Torch Lake District have been called by the Grim Reaper in the deaths of Mrs. Elizabeth Brownlow,84, and Mrs. Mary Hollie. [Called by the Grim Reaper? What church is THAT?]
D1928: Samuel Bryant, 78, died in Mohawk after a brief illness. Born in England.
D1924: Mrs. Isaac Burgan, 86, died yesterday after an illness of five months. Born in England.
D1924: Mrs. Sarah Burkhardt, 70, died suddenly Wednesday evening at her home on Caldedonia Street. Circumstances of her death were such as to lead officials to believe she might have died from other than natural causes and a petition filed with Coroner Fisher this morning demanded an inquest into the case. The jury has been impaneled and viewed the remains. The autopsy will be performed this afternoon.
D1924: Mrs. Catherine Burkheiser, 50, of Hancock, died unexpectedly at 3 PM at the home of her sister. She had been occupied in the garden and went to her room for a rest. Later when relatives went to call her, she was dead. She had been undergoing treatment of heart trouble recently, but her death was entirely unexpected.
D1922: John Burrows, 54, died following pneumonia.
D1947: Mary Maddaleena Waananen, 80, died of myocarditis. Born in Finland.
D1947: Anna Kaisa Waara, 91, died of myocardial infarction, arteriosclerosis. Born in Finland.
D1944: Fred H. Waara, 81, died of lobar double pneumonia. Born in Finland.
D1942: William Waara, 56, died of (sic) “influenza, meningetes, loid quade”
D1925: John Waarce, 60. Died of delieium tremens and chronic myocarditis.
D1950: Peter Wagner, Died of acute myocarditis, chronic arthritis.
D1943: Mathew Wagoner, 73, Died of cardiac asthma.
D1922: Henry Wahala, 73, died of senile debility. Born in Finland.
D1917: Lugrid Wahlstrom, age 8 days, died of (sic) “infantile wineulsism.” Unmarried, Sweden-born mother.
D1928: Peter Waisanen, 78, died of chronic endocarditis and dropsy. Born in Finland.
D1943: Peter Valent, 55, died of carcinoma of stomach and gall bladder, heart disease contributing. Born in Yugoslavia.
D1910: Eino Bernhard Walitalo, 28, died of tuberculosis.
D1941: Erick Evert Walitalo, 59, died of coronary thrombosis, diabetes, generalized atherosclerosis. Born in Finland.
D1914: Hanna Madaline Walitalo, 31. Died of purpura fulminans ( Purpura fulminans is also known as “Purpura gangrenosa” a haemorrhagic condition usually associated with sepsis or previous infection. It occurs mainly in babies and small children. Born in Finland.
D1930: Roy Reuben Valitalo, 17, died of meningitis/influenza and spinal TB. Born inFinland.
D1937: George Wallace, 74, died of (sic) prostratism with chronic myocarditis. Born in England.
D1921: Jessie Wallio, 21, died of pulmonary tuberculosis. Born in Wisconsin.
D1921: Martha Wallio, 8 months, died of lobar pneumonia.
D1923: August Wallio, 70, died of cerebral apoplexy. Born in Finland.
D1911: Laila Walstrom, 24 days, died of infantile convulsion.
D1933: Jacob Waltari, 68, died of prostate carcinoma. Born in Sweden.
D1916: Gertrude Walters, 0 Yrs 0 mos, 0days, stillborn.
D1918: Jane Walters, 84, died of chronic endocarditis, and cirhosis of liver. Born in England.
D1926: Emma Walston, 79, died of chronic ascending paralysis.
D1928: Lillian Marie Van Hala, 26, died of pulmonary tuberculosis.
D1936: Peter Van Iderstine, died of chronic intestinal nephritis. Born in Canada.
D1943: Mary Eriika Wanha, 83, died of carcinoma, stomach, uterus, throat. Born in Canada.
D1945: John Ward, 83,died of stomach carcinoma and heart disease and (sic) “otoslabby.”
D1944: Richard Masters Wareham, 72, Death from heart disease and bronchopneumonia.
D1944: Matti Warila, 80, died of tuberculosis. Born in Finland.
D1923: Alred Varluf, 70, died of chronic valvular disease and dropsy. Born in England.
D1951: George Scott Wanre,88, died of heart disease, arteriosclerosis. Born in England.
D1934: Nestor I Warth, 27, died of tuberculosis.
D1915: Matilda Gustava Waryrynen, 42, died of apoplexy. Born in Finland.
D1940: Andrew Wasalampi, 67, died of cerebral hemorrhage, heart disease, senility. Born in Finland.
D1911: James Watson, 79, died of apoplexy, buried at poor farm. Born in Scotland.
D1930: Ida Waters, 58, died of chronic interstacial nephritis.
D1943: Joseph Vayo, 54, died of pulmonary tuberculosis. Born in Hungary.
D1934: Kalle Wayrynen, 64, died of myocardial insufficiency. Born in Finland.
D1910: Lizzie Wayrynen, 34, died of brain cancer. Born in Finland.
D1942: Margaret Warynen, 69, died of cerebral hemorrhage & hypertensive heartdisease. Born in Finland.
D1946: Matt Wayrynen, 67, died of cerebral hemorrhage and cardiovascular renal disease. Born in Finland.
D1946: John Wearne, 41, died of esophageal carcinoma with underlying cardiovascular renal disease. Born in England.
D1928: Frank Webber, 76. Died of (sic) “systite prostatitis.” Born in Germany.
D1931: John Webber, 51, died of drowning.
D1917: Joseph Webber, 39, died of fracture of second cervidal vertibra and cerebral concussion.
D1952: Hedwig Weber Wallace, 70, died of valvular heart disease and chronic rheumatic disease.
D1942: Giacomo Vecchio, 70. Died of (sic) “angend pectords; limpoma.” Maybe they mean angina pectoris and lymphoma?
D1942: John Vehka, 72, Died of cerebral hemorrhage and arteriosclerosis. Born in Finland
D1945: Matti Veijolainen, Died of (sic) “dilatation heart,hypertension, bronchial asthma.” Born in Finland.
D1909: Edward C Weikings, 8, Died of bronchial opneumonia and measles.
D1914: Peter Vekevich, 89. Died of general breakdown and old age. Born in Poland.
D1923: Dorothy Wellems, 9, Died of membranous croup and had tracheotomy.
D1913: Edna Edith Evelyn Wellems, 4 mos, died of ileocolitis. Same mother and father as preceding Dorothy.
D1907: Joseph Wellems, 60, died of myocarditis. Born in Germany.
D1912: Ceceil Edith Velmer, 20. Died of pulmonary tuberculosis.
D1935: Andrew Verbanchich, 66. Died of stomach cancer. Born in Yugoslavia.
D1943: Joseph Vertachich, 88, died of carcinoma of stomach and gall bladder. Born inYugoslavia.
D1908: Peter Vertala, Died of valvular heart diseases (mitral). Born in Finland.
D1950: John Wester, 79, died of coronary thrombosis. Born in Finland.
D1929 Arnold Hugo Westerberg, 22, died of tuberculosis.
D1928: Delise Westerberg, 52, died of cardiovascular renal disease.
D1930: Lillian Westerberg, 21, died of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis.
D1936: Elog Johannes Westin, 36, died of tuberculosis. Born in Sweden.
D1932: Louise Weston, 66, died of cerebral apoplexy.
D1909: Frederick Westphal, 87, died of unknown causes, but suffered chronic gastritis. Born in Germany. Died on poor farm.
D1914: Peter Schetney White,67, died of bladder cancer. Born in Canada.
D1935: James Emerald White, 46, died of tuberculosis of lungs.
D1920: John White, 92, died of arteriosclerosis of the brain. Born in Canada.
D1912: John Wick, 54, died of chronic heart diseases. Born in Finland.
D1921: Lousia Widenhaefer, 31, died of tuberculosis. Born in Wisconsin.
D1918: Joseph Vidmar, 28, died of tuberculosis.
D1906: Jacob Wiinamaki, 76, died of apoplexy. Born in Finland.
D1943: Isaac Arvid Wiippa, 72, died of pericaecitis. Born in Sweden.
D1923: Arthur Wiitanen, 20 days, found ead in bed morning of April 19th.
D1941: Alma Olivia Wilen, 47, feebleminded,myocardial infarction. Born in Finland.
D1915: Alice Wilkings, 24, died of tuberculosis.
D1946: Charles Williams, 57, died of stomach cancer,malnutrition, depression, psychosis. Born in England.
D1915: Daniel Williams, 65, died of chronic Bright’s disease. Born in North Carlina.
D1915: Mar Williams, 37, died of tuberculosis, rheumatism. Born in Alabama
D1922: Leola Catherine Wilson, 18, died of tuberculosis.
D1905: James Nankervis, who recently left Moharw for Jackson California, was killed in a mine accident. He left Mohawk to better his health. Born in England.
D1905: Emil Lalone, 19, died by drowning at the Kearsarge Dam.
D1905: Mrs. Eugenie M Rees, died yesterday at the home of her son in Houghton, from a stroke of paralysis.
D1905: George Perrault, 48, died Sunday morning at his home in Kearsarge from hydrophobia. He had been bitten last March by a dog. He is survived by a wife and 12 children. (No mention of the dog’s fate.)
D1905: John Somonich, 43, died yesterday at his Calumet home as a result of a lengthy illness. Born in Austria, survived by a wife and family living in Austria.
D1905: John Richards, 38 died yesterday noon in Centennial mine. He and partner John Geroge were laying blasting powder and Mr. Richards was killed by a premature blast. He was single and lived with his sister. Born in England.
D1905: William Hodges, 35, died after being stabbed in Geyser, Montana by George Rickards on the night of 5 July. Mr. Hodges and his father moved to Great Falls from Hubbell 11 years ago and later went on a ranch 9 miles from Geyser. Rickards is determined to have murdered Hodges and he has fled.
D1905: Dr. Charles McLean, 45, died at St. Joseph’s Hospital from appendicitis. Born in Canada, he took a dentist’s course at the University of Michgian and has been in Hancock since two years after his graduation.
D1905: The coroner’s inquest over the body of Anton Chopp,50, who died Thursday morning from injuries falling from a skip in C shaft of the Champion mined stated he accidentally died. He had worked at the mine for one year.
D1905: Herman Kauppila, 24, single, a Finnish miner, was killed in No. 5 shaft of theBaltic Mine,yesterday morning by a blasting cap exploding in his hand. Born in Finland. He had worked only a few months at the mine.
D1905: George Hoatson has died in Mt. Clemens. It was only a short time ago he was living in Calumet and in robust health. He leaves a wife and nine children.
D1905: Mrs. Stina Pispa, 62 died suddenly at the home of her daugher in Yellow Jacket,after a lengthy illness.
Here’s a great notice mixed in with marriages, deaths and community news: ATTENTION: My wife Stella, having left my bed and board, I hereby notify everyone that I will not be responsible for any debts she may contract in my name. SIGNED Frank Stimach of Trimountain.
D1905: Lambert Symons, 28, single, a miner at C Shaft t the Atlantic Mine, was killed yesterday by a fall of dirt. He was born in England had been in the United States less than three years. (I can see the company flack typing the news release on this one.)
D1905: John Hosking, 64, died at his home in Laurium yesterday from paralysis.
D1905: Dennis Lahey, 25, of Rambaultown, drowned in Portage Lake yesterday morning. He was a brake man for the Mineral Range Railroad. He fell from a scow in the lake and having been sick beforehand, he drowned. (Sounds like the reporter is doubling as coroner on an inquest.)
D1905: Frank Miller, 53,of Hurontown, committed suicide yesterday by hanging himself from a loft adjoining his home yesterday. He is survived by a wife and 11 children
D1905: Captain Davide Bussiere, 62, of Ripley, died at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hancock yesterday of blood poisoning. (Captain is mining term for a supervisor and apparently, like president of senator, one carries the title for a lifetime. In this case, however, the captain was a de facto captain of a tugboat).
D1905: Chris Haller, 32, an employee of Hancock village for some years past, died in St. Joseph’s Hospital as a result of injuries received previous in a runaway team of horses attached to a village sprinkler used on the streets. He was thrown beneath the horses’ hooves.
D1905: Peter Berglin,60, inmate at the Houghton County Poor Farm died yesterday. Thefuneral was held yesterday afternoon and he was buried in the Poor Farm Cemetery. (Pound the hole own, t’row ‘em inna ground. Geez.)
D1906: Toivo Visti, 30 minutes. Cause of Death: No Doctor.
D1937: Ventla Violet Victoria Wisti, 20, died of tuberculosis.
D1906: Toula Wistii, stillborn, ashphxiated in long labor.
D1928: Benjamin Thomas Vivian, 24, died of tuberculosis. Mother Mary Smitten.
D1930: Phillip Henry Vivian, 20, died of tuberculosis. Mother, Mary Smitten
D1938: Soo Hoo Wong Yuen, 76, died of enteritis , senility, and mycardial failure. Born in China.
OBSERVATIONS: Mining was (and remains) dangerous work. The English-speaking Copper Country newspapers early in the early twentieth century were almost totally pro-business and mine operators and the miners were mostly considered foreign scum. Newspapermen got “stipends” from companies to provide favorable news. Foreign language papers didn’t get such payola. Finns were especially hated because they were independent minded. The plum jobs and those that paid the most went almost exclusively to Englishmen, notably Cornish folks. Note how the paper points out a miner is a Finnish miner. What the hell does that have to do with his dying in a mine accident? Being Irish, I’ve heard all this crap before and if you’re Catholic or Jewish, or German or Italian, or Chinese, or Black etc. so too have you. We were and remain a nation of immigrants. And yo, I say again, We are all Africans! All of our immigrants legal? I’ve go no clue, but a hundred years from now,( if you can find obituaries or newspapers at all) they will feature Hispanic, and African, and Asian surnames names, lots of Chinese, and Indians and Pakistanis. This I do know. People with futures rarely leave their natal lands. Only those who feel certain to be screwed tend to hit the road. So it was true with nearly every wave that has come ashore here, or across landforms. But once you’re in America where to you run to if you are screwed, born in such straits that there is no playing field, much less a level one?
For all the presumed robustness of the lifestyle a hundred years ago there seems to me to be a lot of cardiovascular problems – heart attacks, hypertension, strokes. So how far have we really come? At least we seem to have gotten the upper hand on a lot of but not all infectious diseases.
Keweenaw Copper miners struck in 1913. Their union out of Denver wanted them to wait, but the men and their families had had enough I don’t blame them. The resulting strike was damn bloody on lots of grounds and the national guard was called out for a period of months to maintain order. But many of the miners came from countries where armies were like state police and this simply incited things more. Clarence Darrow was asked to intervene, but the situation sounded too dangerous to him and he begged off. Our governor of the day, one Woodbridge Ferris, had his mind more on education and other things and basically tried to avoid the ugliness up north. The sheriff of Houghton County back then was in the mine operators’ pockets and Keweenaw County’s Sheriff was his own man and probably sympathized with th strikers. What a contrast for neighbors. By the way, women and children played prominent roles in the various strikes activities including carrying around buckets of shit to throw on scabs and the 1,700 company men who had been deputized and armed under a special state law.
Makes you wonder how either of our current candidates for governor would handle such a situation, or for that matter, the race riots in Detroit in 1967? Not fair, I suppose to play what- if, but considering the nasty and sophomoric sorts of ads the two noids run against each other, I think such a theoretical is perfectly acceptable.
Did I tell you that Glen Sheppard, editor of The North Woods Call published up north, and the most eminent, knowledgeable, fair and outspoken conservation journalist in the state sent questionnaires to the two candidates, only Bernaro bothered to respond — at least as of Shep’s last issue. Does this mean Snyder doesn’t give a shit about natural resources and conservation? Sure gotta wonder. Or does he think he can outsource the management of such stuff to China for the best price offered? Just saying.
To repeat, based on my experience alone, Gateway was the WORST company I ever dealt with on all measures — until the brain-sucking Charter came around. When you say the name Gateway to others, listen to the kinds of remarks you get. And I never even heard the Lansing mayor’s name until he decided to run for governor, so what kind of leader can he really be?
I may write in the late and much-beloved Pie-in-Sky perpetual gubernatorial candidate, Zoltan Ferency, ISYN.
I’d rather vote for a dead man than for someone who shows too little concern for all the living among us.
Enough spout from the lout: I find obits thought-provoking- if I read enough of them to create a bolus of information that begins to squeeze into a critical mass.
Take no prisoners. Over.