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by Martin Green



I suppose I started reading the obituaries when I reached the age when some of my contemporaries might be passing on.    As I got older I kept reading them to see if anyone from work (after I retired) or the retirement community where we now lived was in it.    Now that I’m still older I look at them because I like to read some, especially the longer ones that give a snapshot of the lives of the persons who have recently departed.    Invariably, in a world that seems to have gone crazy, I find them reassuring.


These are persons who haven’t been “activists” (whatever that word means; is “activist” an occupation?), who haven’t taken to the streets to protest, who don’t think the country they live in is inherently evil, who didn’t spend all their time on Twitter or Facebook.    They are persons who used to be thought of as the “Silent Majority,” or at least I hope are still in the majority, persons who lived ordinary normal lives, who married, had families, had a career, helped their communities, maybe even practiced a religion, and all in all did good in their lives.


It’s not difficult to find such people.    In fact, I’m writing this on a Monday and in yesterday’s obituaries I found three.    The first one happens to be a woman who lived in my retirement community.    I didn’t know her but would have liked to.S—G-- went to Palo Alto High School and was the first in her family to graduate college, San Jose State.She took a job at Bakersfield High School and taught shorthand, typing and English.    During that time she met her future husband and they married in 1960.  


 She earned her Master’s while raising five daughters.    She re-entered the workforce and taught word processing and other office personnel college courses in the late 1970’s and early ‘80’s.There were few textbooks in this emerging field so she wrote her own.    After her husband retired and many of their daughters married they moved to Sun City where her time was filled with tennis, golf, bridge, travel and grandkid adventures.    She and her husband were married 55 years.    Come to think of it, I may have met her on the tennis courts.    I hope so.  


S--- S--- worked 39 years for the State of California and received several awards for his service.    He was a faithful member of the Trinity Lutheran Church.    He was an avid golfer.    He was married 38 years.    He and his wife traveled to Europe, went on many cruises and trips to Carmel.    He coached girls’ softball and every year was elected head coach for the all-star team.    His daughters were always on the all-star team and he was there to guide them.   


R--- L--- lived in Northern California all of his life.    He was married 46 years.    He retired from Pacific Bell/Pac Tel/AT&T after over 38 years in telecommunications.    He was devoted to his family and friends and enjoyed life to the fullest be it fishing, boating or traveling with his wife.    He was active in and supportive of YMCA, Special Olympics and the Children’s Receiving Home of Sacramento.


 As I wrote above, just normal ordinary people who married and stayed married, who were devoted to their families, who had productive careers, who supported their communities, and so on.In what has become our world, reassuring to read about and certainly much better reading than what passes for news in the rest of the paper.




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