Weekly News 5/1/2015: Notable deaths this week

By: Funeralwise | Date: Sat, May 2nd, 2015

We mark several notable deaths this week: a treasured soul singer, a inspirational weight loss visionary, an iconic voice, and a child actress. These and all who passed will be missed. In the news we witnessed the aftermath of Mother Nature’s wrath in Nepal and heard the unique voice of New Orleans and how it celebrates both life and death. Also in the headlines are stories about creating a meaningful end-of-life, the honest heartbreak of a father passing along hard lessons, and history and trends in the funeral industry.

Digital Dying Weekly News: 5/01/2015

Notable deaths for the week of 05/01/2015:

Ben E. KingBen E. KingJean NidetchJean NidetchJack ElyJack ElySuzanne CroughSuzanne Crough
Visit our Dearly Departed Gallery for more 2015 notable deaths 

Volunteers Burn Nepal’s Unclaimed Bodies as Death Toll Rises

5/1/2015–Time.com: The crematory pyres outside the revered Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu spew grey-white smoke into the bright sun of Friday afternoon. Below, local women wade into the shallows of the revered Bagwati, splashing water on their arms to wash and cool down. At the water’s edge, families gather to bid goodbye to their loved ones. But six days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rattled this landlocked nation, officials are struggling to figure out where to store their unclaimed dead… Read the full story


Joyous funeral processions are becoming an unexpected highlight at the New Orleans’ Jazz Fest

4/30/2015–U.S. News: Amid the music, food and fanfare of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a sight some may find surprising: a funeral procession. Fest-goers hold up cameras and iPhones as a brass band leads a procession of mourners holding photographs of their beloved departed. The group includes dancers with feather-fans strutting and swaying, hoisting umbrellas and waving handkerchiefs… Read full story


The Strange and Bizarre Funerary Practices of Humans

4/30/2015–Science World Report: We burn them. We embalm them. We bury them. We even eat them. As long as humans have walked the Earth, they’ve disposed of their dead in one way or another, some evolving into funerary practices that continue to range from typical to bizarre. But what gave rise to these practices in the first place? How humans handle the dead says a great deal about their beliefs. In fact, burial practices can speak volumes about culture, and ancient burials can tell researchers quite a bit about the past. From tombs and other burial sites archaeologists routinely unearth ancient artifacts that were once viewed as valuable, maybe even necessary for the afterlife. Even today, loved ones are often buried items that were once special to them… Read the full story


Digital Dying Weekly News: Caitlin Doughty

Mortician, YouTube sensation, and author Caitlin Doughty’s story is being developed for television.

YouTube mortician Caitlin Doughty’s memoirs to be adapted for TV

4/30/2015–A.V. Club: Plenty of young women with black bangs and a morbid sense of humor talk about becoming morticians, but Caitlin Doughty actually followed through. She then took things a step further by starting the web series Ask A Mortician, where she answers viewers’ questions about death and dying in a refreshingly honest, surprisingly upbeat way. Among the questions Doughty has answered on her show are: “What do dead bodies smell like?” (“Citrus fruits, licorice and fish, mixed in a bucket and left in the sun for several days”) and “Do people really poop themselves when they die?” (Sometimes.)Read the full story

Read our interview with Caitlin Doughty


Burial trends creating extra space for the afterlife

4/27/2015–SiLive.com: Less than a decade ago, Staten Island cemetery owners and funeral directors were predicting the borough might run out of burial spaces by the middle of this century. And while it is true that there are no large plots of land available for additional designated cemetery space on the Island, according to those in the industry, the increase in cremation and use of above-ground burial is helping to preserve space for burials in the borough’s cemeteries… Read the full story


TEDx Talk: Let’s Talk About Good Death

4/24/2015–Huff Post GPS For the Soul: How do you want to die? “Not at all” isn’t an option. We’re all what Dickens called “fellow passengers to the grave.” Let’s try again: “How do you want to die?” Cue in ‘good death’. Being at peace, feeling a sense of control, being supported by loved ones, knowing your life had purpose and having your affairs in order – these are all are trademarks of the good death… Read the full story


Death midwives help families cope with end-of-life care

4/24/2015–CBC Radio: Gloria Christianson remembers vividly the moment her son Scott passed away. “Somebody came out and called me back into the room and said, ‘It’s time.’ I sat down, they passed him into my arms and he took his last breath and he died,” said Christianson. Scott was blind, had a hearing impairment and other disabilities. “Medicalizing him was the story of his life,” said Christianson, adding that emergency care could be very confusing and upsetting for him. “He’d had enough of that during his fragile life… Read the full story


Digital Dying Weekly News: Caring for Mom and Dad

PBS series, Caring for Mom and Dad, will begin airing this month.

Caring For Mom and Dad: PBS Series to Air in May 2015

4/22/2015–PBS.org: Americans are living longer than ever before. Who will take care of those who can no longer care for themselves? CARING FOR MOM & DAD (premiering May 2015 on PBS; check local listings) seeks to answer these questions as it explores the emotional, health, and financial challenges that many caregivers face every day… Visit the site


Daughter Holds ‘Premortem Funeral’ for 88-year-old Mother Before Dementia Sets In

4/18/2015–People Magazine: It’s been a hectic week for 88-year-old Anchorage, Alaska, resident Jean Paal, what with getting everything ready her funeral scheduled for this Sunday. “I think it’s the most marvelous idea,” Paal tells PEOPLE, shortly before heading out with a friend to look for a new blouse for the event. “My daughter is throwing me a funeral. Isn’t that just brilliant?” Read the full story


Grieving Dad Writing 24-Year-Old Daughter’s Obituary Does it Differently — He’s Brutally Honest

4/16/2015–IJR Review: While Molly was passionate about life, her heroin addiction took over in the end. In a poignant interview with NPR, Parks explains: “She never lost her passion for anything, though, believe it or not. I mean, you’d think that addicts withdraw completely into themselves, and that wasn’t Molly. She loved her friends. She loved us. She loved life; just the addiction was too much. She just – she couldn’t fight it off.” Molly’s obituary memorialized her the way that most obituaries do — recalling her love of Harry Potter, theater, and red lipstick — but it did something else: it was honest about her death… Read the full story

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