Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I hope no one will find this morbid, but I am reprinting an obituary that ran in 
The Sun Herald newspaper in Gulfport, Mississippi.

I do not know Harry Stamps; it was his cleverly written obituary that caught my eye.

The following obituary is clearly a tribute to a man whose life was well lived.

He appears to have been a person who knew exactly who he was and was proud of it. I am certain that those who knew and loved him smiled amid their tears when they read this very well written obituary -- the best one I've ever read (written by a family member or close friend I'm sure). 

Harry Weathersby Stamps
December 19, 1932 -- March 9, 2013
Long Beach

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Harry was locally sourcing his food years before chefs in California starting using cilantro and arugula (both of which he hated). For his signature bacon and tomato sandwich, he procured 100% all white Bunny Bread from Georgia, Blue Plate mayonnaise from New Orleans, Sauer's black pepper from Virginia, home grown tomatoes from outside Oxford, and Tennessee's Benton bacon
from his bacon-of-the-month subscription. As a point of pride, he purported to remember every meal he had eaten in his 80 years of life.

The women in his life were numerous. He particularly fancied smart women. He loved his mom Wilma Hartzog (deceased), who with the help of her sisters and cousins in New Hebron reared Harry after his father Walter's death when Harry was 12. He worshipped his older sister Lynn Stamps Garner (deceased), a character in her own right, and her daughter Lynda Lightsey of Hattiesburg.

He married his main squeeze Ann Moore, a home economics teacher, almost 50 years ago, with whom they had two girls Amanda Lewis of Dallas, and Alison of Starkville. He taught them to fish, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their tool boxes. One of his regrets was not seeing his girl, Hillary Clinton, elected

He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna [Vi-e-na] sausages on saltines, his homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens, and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread.

He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking, eradicating mole crickets from his front yard, composting pine needles, living within his means, outsmarting squirrels, never losing a game of competitive sickness, and reading any history book he could get his hands on. 

He loved to use his oversized "old man" remote control, which thankfully survived Hurricane Katrina, to flip between watching The Barefoot Contessa and anything on The History Channel. 

He took extreme pride in his two grandchildren Harper Lewis (8) and William Stamps Lewis (6) of Dallas for whom he would crow like a rooster on their phone calls. 

As a former government and sociology professor for Gulf Coast Community College, Harry was thoroughly interested in politics and religion and enjoyed watching politicians act like preachers and preachers act like politicians. He was fond of saying a phrase he coined "I am not running for political office or trying to get married" when he was "speaking the truth." 

He also took pride in his service during the Korean conflict, serving the rank of corporal--just like Napolean, as he would say.

Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam's on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grassstained
MSU baseball cap.

Harry traveled extensively. He only stayed in the finest quality AAA-rated campgrounds, his favorite being Indian Creek outside Cherokee, North Carolina. He always spent the extra money to upgrade to a creek view for his tent. Many years later he purchased a used pop-up camper for his family to travel in style, which spoiled his daughters for life.

He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words "veranda" and "porte cochere" to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. 

He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil's Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.

Because of his irrational fear that his family would throw him a golf-themed funeral despite his hatred for the sport, his family will hold a private, family only service free of any type of "theme." Visitation will be held at Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport on Monday, March 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Jeff Davis Campus) for their library. Harry retired as Dean there and was very proud of his friends and the faculty. He taught thousands and thousands of Mississippians during his life. The family would also like to thank the Gulfport Railroad Center dialysis staff who took great care of him and his caretaker Jameka Stribling.

Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time.
Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord's Time.

View & sign register book @ www.bradfordokeefe.com


What do you think? Are you of the opinion that obituaries should be short, formal and dignified or do you think it's OK to pay tribute to the deceased in other, more clever ways, such as the above?


  1. I think that he had a great idea about having all of his mourners write letters asking for the end of Day Light Time. A true genius.
    I don't have an opinion on how an obituary should be written because everybody is so different. What ever makes the ones left behind more peaceful is the right one to have. This would have made a good Eulogy - a celebration of a life well lived.

    1. The obituary caught my eye because it was so unusual. Never saw one like it before. The Daylight Savings Time was a humorous touch.

  2. there's a lot to be said for having a sense of humor. whatever the family thinks their loved one would've wanted is fine by me. well, as long as it's legal ;)

    1. Obits I see these days are either matter-of-fact (preferred) over the flowery ones that detail every accomplishment the deceased ever had. I agree that it's whatever pleases the family, tho.

  3. I love this obituary...he sounded like he enjoyed life. I am not sure if one can write this way for everyone because many people don't live that way. Happy Spring Sanda!

    1. Very true; not everyone is so interesting as this fella was. Enjoy your day!

  4. cheerful and interesting and not phony in the slightest way. I approve, I dislike all the ceremonies surrounding death and funerals. I'm also pleased the family invitied mourners to give donations instead of buying flowers which can so often turn into a competition who will show up with the most fancy or biggest wreath as if that is the measure of love and respect one has for the deceased.

    1. Donations make more sense, although it's somewhat sad not to see a few flowers at the funeral. More people are using the silk flowers in lieu of fresh, which I don't like. Fresh flowers are always better, even tho they only last a day or two.

  5. Not at all morbid,have never seen such a caring obituary.Ours seem to just give the basic information in local papers,at the service the Vicar will go into more detail according to the wishes of the family.
    Donations to various charities are becoming the norm here.Ida

    1. Now we are seeing videos being made, showing pictures of the deceased throughout his/her life. This is set up on a continuous feed on a screen in the lobby of the funeral home and is seen by those coming to the visitation. Are you seeing that trend there?

  6. He sounds like an interesting person! It's a little lengthy but all very different from the usual thing and it would make one smile amid the tears and grief.

    1. It is long! More like a little Novelette, but quite enjoyable. Had to have been written by a family member, or perhaps even by the deceased before his death?

  7. Wow, what a character. I would say that his family and friends were blessed to have had him a part of their lives. I go along with him on just about every thing he believed/did, except the Hillary part :-) Thanks for the story.


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