Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Best. Obit. Ever.

I'm of an age where I started reading the obits regularly. All too often I find someone I know. This guy I know of, but never met, but his obit is the ultimate statement of a Hilltown hillbilly. Since my old hometown paper is so greedy they charge to read it online, I reproduce here in full for your amusement.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - With trumpets blaring, Zeus, god of gods, called Daniel Reed Porter III to His Heavenly Pantheon on Nov. 21, 2006.

He (Porter, not Zeus) was the second White child born in the new maternity ward of Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton on his father's birthday July 2, 1930. His mother Eleanor (Parsons) needed all the help she could get.

Porter was reared on a small farm with his siblings in Worthington. Sickly as a child, his parents often contemplated drowning him in Watt's Brook that flowed (trickled in summer) behind the house into which (the brook, not the house) they deposited other trash, sewage and cow manure.

After being partially educated in local schools, Porter matriculated in the class of 1952 at UMass, formerly Mass Aggie. Here he failed to distinguish himself in any meaningful way, and managed to alienate a number of his classmates and professors. Upon graduation without honors, Porter was drafted into the Army and served in Korea before and after the armistice. There he learned more than at college - never volunteer, be cowardly to survive, don't circulate petitions and keep away from indigenous females.

Returning home ill-prepared for an occupation, he was strangely accepted by the University of Michigan Graduate School where he tried to prepare for an acceptable if not respectable occupation.

A 35-year career as a museum and historical agency administrator and museum director followed. He moved from state to state five times to keep ahead of his reputation. He completed his career ignominiously in Cooperstown in 1992. On his demise, he was a member of no organization, club or charity.

Porter was not survived by his parents and sister, Janice Leroux. But surviving him are his relict, Joan (Dornfeld); a daughter, Leslie, her husband, Edward Easton III, and their daughters, Erika, Caitlin, and Allison, of Coudersport (God's Country), Pa.; his son, Andrew, and his wife, Amy (Pens), and their heir, Reed; a brother, Edward, and his wife, Shirley (Smith), on Watt's Brook; a brother-in-law, Al Leroux, and his Buick sedan of Northampton; and numbers of nieces and nephews.

There will be no final rites or any mumbo-jumbo. He will not lie in state at the The Farmers' Museum. His cremated remains will be scattered on Watt's Brook. Memorial gifts will not be accepted and cards are a waste of money.
In case you're wondering, he wrote it himself before he died. Good for his family for publishing it intact.


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