ancestor story

Uncle Darrell – Part V, Death and Funeral Announcement

PETERSON, Darrell Skeen, first obitutary, 24 November 1947PETERSON, Darrell Skeen, Funeral Announcement, 24 November 1947

This death and funeral announcement appeared in The Ogden Standard-Examiner on 24 November 1947 in the evening edition – two days after the accident.  They are found on page 14.  These exact clippings were saved by my Grandmother and put on an album page she created.

I can’t help but think of my great grandmother.  What was that like to receive visitors at the family home during her intense grief?  Was it a comfort?  My introverted self is grateful that the current tradition is to host a viewing in a funeral home or church so that when it’s over you can retreat to your home with just your family.  But maybe facing everyone in your own home was helpful for the grieving process?  No matter how she felt about it, my heart aches for her pain during this time.


to be continued…

19 thoughts on “Uncle Darrell – Part V, Death and Funeral Announcement”

  1. So sad. I can’t imagine anything worse than losing a child unless it is losing a grandchild. Your comment about visiting at home versus a funeral home is interesting. In the Jewish custom of shiva, people visit mourners at home after the funeral for seven days, and the funeral is supposed to take place as soon as possible after the death—preferably within 24 hours. The mourners are not supposed to leave their home during that shiva period. So to me, making calls to a funeral home or going to a wake at a funeral home always seems so cold. I never thought about the fact that the mourners are captive in their homes and not able to grieve privately. It’s fascinating how customs and cultures differ.

    1. It is fascinating isn’t it. Mourning is so personal and it’s a process. I think we all need different things to work through our grief. Our traditions can be helpful but I think so much is on us as individuals to chose to work through it. I imagine that shiva is a good way to be forced to face it. When you are in your home for 7 days grieving you can’t run from the pain of loss.

      1. Yes, I think that is part of the reason for the practice—to focus on grieving and nothing else for those seven days, and then slowly to re-enter the world. People are suppose to bring you food so you don’t have to think about cooking. Very traditional Jews don’t even shave, shower, or change their clothes for that week. I agree—everyone finds their way, and the traditions offer paths to help find the best way for each of us.

  2. One way to honor Darrell’s memory is to have a memorial service, if that’s part of your faith tradition. They are a powerful way to connect in so many ways-to the past and present members of our family for starters. It doesn’t take away the pain but might help give even more meaning and connection with what you’re feeling.

    1. Such a nice idea EmilyAnn. We have a reunion of Rulon & Naomi’s posterity every year. They were Darrell’s parents. I am currently compiling all of the information I have into a book format so I can share it with our family. At each reunion we typically have the living children of Rulon and Naomi share some memories. It might be time that we share memories of Darrell. Much like your idea. 🙂

  3. When I was a little kid in Scotland, it was usual to have the deceased at home before the funeral, so that people could come and pay their respects and so the family could say goodbye properly. I’m pretty sure my grandad was brought to our house, though I was very small at the time. I think my family found it comforting. A similar tradition exists among NZ Maori, where the deceased is taken onto the marae (the tribe’s home ground) and watched over by loved ones for three days before burial. I wonder if some of the modern discomfort around death is because we distance ourselves from it. My mother lost a child to stillbirth and had no body to bury. Her baby was taken away and she never even saw him. I think that is amazingly cruel. To lose a child is as Amy says a terrible tragedy, but to have no body to grieve over seems even worse.

    1. Su, since you are from Scotland maybe you can answer my question. I have been watching a TV show, filmed in Ireland, and at the funerals the mourners always come in and drop an envelope in a bowl near the deceased. Are these consolation messages, money to help pay for expenses or what? Enquiring minds would like to know!

      1. Hi Cady. I can’t help you with that one, sorry. It’s not a tradition I’m familiar with. My guess would be money, but that is just a guess. I’ll ask my mum next time I speaking to her; she might have a better idea. Cheers, Su.

    2. I think you are onto something Su. When my grandpa died it was VERY difficult for me. My grandma died 7 or so years later. I helped to dress her body and was one of the speakers at the funeral. Both of these tasks forced me to put a different perspective on my grief. I worked through the hard parts much faster. There was a lot of healing in those two acts for me. We typically are kept quite distant from death. It’s been made a lot more formal and pretty – not as many opportunities to really dig in and grieve.

  4. What a very sad story. There is something about that age of 14, too, that seems particularly hard, if that makes any sense at all. That is the age when a child becomes more difficult and sometimes more “reserved” with adult family members. Terrible tragedy.

    1. I know exactly what you mean! I have a 14 year old right now. Sometime next week I’ll be posting a letter written by my great grandmother that will reflect the very things you are mentioning here.

  5. Yes, that is the way they did funerals then. I know in my family they never left the body unattended for days. Between this and some of the terrible deaths that were at home and illnesses that lingered for months, before the person died, I don’t know how I would have dealt with that.

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