AT MY FIRST job in daily newspapering, one of the jobs of a fledgling reporter was taking obituary information from the local funeral homes. In fact, it was the responsibility of anyone getting the call – cub reporter, desk editor, sports department or any one else not answering the phone call in our smoky, coffee-soaked squalid quarters at the Mount Vernon Democrat building in southwestern Indiana.
As a newly hired reporter back in the Gutenberg press days of journalism, that call often came to me from any our three funeral homes. Initially, I felt my education and the few grisly deaths I had been a witness to in the military put me above such mundane matters. But I was blessed to have received a more important secondary education.
Bill Brooks, the editor and general manager of our humble and aggressive little rag, gently gave me a good education one afternoon while listening to me bitch about the “so whats” of writing an obituary and making mistakes in doing so.