In a past life, I was briefly an obit writer, having contributed to “Annual Obituary,” a collection of yearly death notices published by St. Martin’s Press. My obituarees — the people whose lives I was asked to summarize — were graded according to their accomplishments and the status they achieved, with higher grades receiving more words, lesser grades fewer.
None was ever as brief as the one appearing in a Fargo, N.D., newspaper written for Doug Legler, who died last week at the age of 85. The tribute — if it can be called that — consisted of two words: “Doug died.”
Don’t feel bad for the man, though, or think he was cheated. He wrote the pithy obit himself. His daughter Janet Stoll explained to reporters with Fargo CBS affiliate WCSC:
He just wanted it short and sweet, and he felt he hadn’t accomplished enough or something, I don’t know. He came up with it, and all he wanted was just, ‘Doug died.’ We were just trying to following his wishes. We had no idea it would turn into what it has.