In Lieu of Flowers

Memorable obituaries, eulogies, and other remembrances of folks past.

WE TRIED TO CREASE OUR CAPS LIKE HIM. KNEEL IN AN IMAGINARY ON-DECK CIRCLE LIKE HIM. RUN LIKE HIM, HEADS DOWN, ELBOWS OUT - Baseball’s opening day is a reopening day for In Lieu of Flowers, and here’s the perfect elegy for both occasions. From August 1995,  Bob Costas eulogizes his childhood idol Mickey Mantle. Mick held a place in the heart of Baby Boom boys that we from later eras couldn’t quite understand, but Costas helps explain his generation’s obsession with the “fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic.” 

Ben Spector killed himself on April 20, 1949. The epitaph on his gravestone at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York, “To know him was to love him,” would prove influential to his 9-year-old son Phil. 

Ben Spector killed himself on April 20, 1949. The epitaph on his gravestone at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York, “To know him was to love him,” would prove influential to his 9-year-old son Phil. 

"I’ve seen a miracle today … I watched a white dude know all the words to the black national anthem …" Bernie Mac was the most popular person in every room he ever walked into, even if the room included the rest of the Ocean’s 11, or all three Charlie’s Angels. Or even if he was alone. “I don’t care if you don’t like me. I like me,” he was known to say. When B-Mac went down way too early, in 2009 at 50, the family asked the other three Original Kings of Comedy to eulogize him, and they chose to do it all at once. D.L. Hughley, as you might expect, is the highlight, especially when Steve Harvey calls him out for saying “damn” in church.

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I’VE EVER DONE - The ex-wife as funeral speaker has to be as rare as the spirit bear, but here Cher gives a shockingly touching tribute to Salvatore Phillip Bono (short for Bonaparte, if his young self was to be believed), the man who made her famous. "He was Sonny way before we were Sonny and Cher."

Bonus fact: Cher? Armenian! Born Cherilyn Sarkisian.

He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.

While obits often soar, paid death announcements are usually dens of earnest vapidity. But a reader points out this Denver gem that’s been making the rounds from the family and friends of Michael “Flathead” Blanchard. I don’t think me and Flathead would have gotten along too famously, but I sure would like to have gone to his damn funeral, and Baba Yaga can kiss my ass too: 

Weary of reading obituaries noting someone’s courageous battle with death, Mike wanted it known that he died as a result of being stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades. He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died.

Mike was born July 1944 in Colorado to Clyde and Ethel Blanchard. A community activist, he is noted for saving the Dr. Justina Ford house from demolition and defending those who could not defend themselves. He was a Republican delegate, life member of the NRA, founder and President of the Dead Cats MC. He loved music.
Mike was preceded in death by Clyde and Ethel Blanchard, survived by his beloved sons Mike and Chopper, former wife Jane Transue, brother Stephen Blanchard , Uncle Don and Aunt Cynthia Blanchard (his favorite); Uncle Dill and Aunt Dot, cousins and nephews, Baba Yaga can kiss his butt. So many of his childhood friends that weren’t killed in Vietnam went on to become criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats. He asks that you stop by and re-tell the stories he can no longer tell. As the Celebration will contain Adult material we respectfully ask that no children under 18 attend.

Headstone of Nick Drake, rear view.

Headstone of Nick Drake, rear view.

GOOD RIDDANCE TO HIM, THE FREELOADING BASTARD - In perhaps a perfect match of eulogy, eulogizer and eulogized, John Cleese says a few words at the 1989 services of fellow Pythoner Graham Chapman.