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					                                              Dr. Downing
                                               Journalism
                                          Obituary Assignment
                                                Fall 2009

Quite simply, an obituary is a published notice of a death, typically with a brief biography of the deceased.

Writing an Obituary: Obits are typically written by young journalists, who are sharpening their skills before
sinking their teeth into meatier stories.

When writing an obit, include name of the deceased (including middle name or middle initial), place of birth,
education, spouse, working life, other survivors, and hobbies/interests. Be sure to include funeral home
information for visitation.

*Check the Obituary Form on my website for more complete information.*

Your assignment: Write your own obituary. Feel free to use humor, but include all of the details that you would
normally include if writing about another person.

To avoid bad juju, do not identify a date of death for your own obit. Use “died yesterday” instead.

Otherwise, follow the models (see below). Obits should be ~200 words.

Elizabeth A. Welch Elizabeth A. Welch, 94, died Saturday, February 2, 2008 at Sarah Reed Retirement Center.
She was born on May 18, 1913 in Ripley, New York, the daughter of the late Joseph and Olive (Alcorn) Welch.
Elizabeth attended Ripley Central School in Ripley, New York and graduated from Jamestown Business
College in Jamestown, N.Y. She worked for 35 years at Welch Foods, Inc. in Westfield, N.Y. She was a
member of First United Methodist Church, Westfield, NY. Elizabeth is survived by a nephew, Robert S.
Warner, of Erie, and a dear friend, May Elizabeth "Mitzie" Simmons of Erie. Besides her parents, she was
predeceased by her niece and nephew, Robert L. and Peggy Warner. Funeral services will be held on Saturday,
February 9th at 10 AM at the Fantauzzi Funeral Home, 52 South Portage Street, Westfield, N.Y. with the Rev.
Matt Golibersuch of First United Methodist Church of Westfield officiating. Relatives and friends are invited to
call at the funeral home from 9 AM to 10 AM on Saturday, prior to the funeral service. Interment will be in the
Quincy Rural Cemetery, Ripley, N.Y.

Dr. Mike Downing, of Kempton, Pa, died yesterday at the age of 104. He was born December 8, 1965 at
Hamot Hospital in Erie, Pa, son of the late Bart A. and Mary S. Downing. After graduating from East High
School in Erie, Mike attended Clarion University, earning degrees in English and Communications. He went on
to Indiana University of PA where he earned a doctorate in English. After living and working for a time in
Nashua, NH, he returned to Erie and worked for Mercyhurst College. He eventually moved on to the position
of Professor of English and Professional Writing at Kutztown University, where he worked for 25 years. He
enjoyed hiking, camping, swimming, and any outdoor activity and was a volunteer at Hawk Mountain
Sanctuary and Camp Notre Dame in Erie. Survivors include his wife and daughter and numerous cousins. He
was preceded in death by his brother, Bart J. Downing, as well as his parents. Calling hours will be held at
Kempton Funeral Home from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday. Burial will be conducted at Gate
of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Camp Notre Dame, PO Box 74,
Fairview, PA 15147.

				
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