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03/23/2010

Which photo do you prefer in an obituary? [updated]

March 23, 2010 | 12:09 pm

Euniceyoung Faithful readers of the obituary page often comment on the photos that run with the stories. Sometimes the image is one from the deceased's prime, perhaps taken in the person's 20s or 30s or when he or she had a hit TV series or was in the news. Other times the photo that accompanies the news obituary is one taken closer to the end of the person's life. Many times the photo that runs with the story is the only one available. Ideally, we can run several pictures that depict the subject over the course of his or her life.

[updated at 12:45 p.m.: This issue came up last summer when we were choosing photos to go with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver news obituary. She lived to be 88 and had a long and active life, so we had a range of photos to choose from, showing her both as a young woman and later in life.]  

In a recent Miss Manners column, the Gentle Reader asked this question:

Euniceold Dear Miss Manners: How do you feel about the use in an obituary of a photo of the deceased when he/she was much younger than at the age at which he/she had died?

I have the typical face of a woman my age, 78 — wrinkled, sagging skin and thin, graying hair. A photo of me at 26 shows a very attractive, vibrant young woman, and this is how I would like my friends to remember me. (And it would send a message to my much younger friends: No matter how beautiful or handsome you are now, you, too, will one day be old, wrinkled and gray if you live long enough.)

Click here to read the rest of her letter and Miss Manners' reply.

And do let us know which type of photo you prefer when you scan the obit page.

-- Claire Noland

Photos: From top, Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1960; credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images; Shriver in 2007 credit: Associated Press 

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