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Updated 03/12/2016

 THE CLASS OF 1958 OBITUARY PROGRAM

APPENDIX A - U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery  

APPENDIX B – Optional Concepts for Obituaries Updated 03/12/16

 

I - GUIDANCE FOR OBITUARY PREPARATION & SUBMISSION  

1.      One of the duties of a class is to provide obituaries of deceased classmates for publication in the “Last Call” section of Shipmate magazine.  As our class ages, the number of deaths increase.  The Class of 58, presently, is experiencing an average of nearly two deaths per month.  

2.       To ensure quality memorials for deceased classmates, the Company Representative (CR), by tradition, orchestrates, in coordination with family members and classmates, the preparation and submission of an obituary for a deceased classmate of his company to the Shipmate obituary editor.  CR's initiate action to accomplish this task as soon as possible after learning of the death.  The CR typically arranges for a family member or a classmate to draft the obituary.  The CR advises and assists the family member or classmate to ensure that the obituary is developed in compliance with procedures/rules prescribed by Shipmate (see paragraph III - Guidelines below).   In the event the CR is unavailable or unable to accomplish this task, the responsibility passes to the ACR for action.  

 II - OBITUARY PROCEDURES  

1.      Typically, an Alumni Association representative (generally a member of the Shipmate staff) or a family member notifies the Class President or the Corresponding Secretary of a classmate’s death.  

2.      The recipient passes all available information to the appropriate CR.  The CR or the drafter may correspond directly with the Shipmate Obituary editor on any editorial question.  

3.      When the draft is ready, the CR obtains the approval of the deceased’s next of kin.  

4.      When approved by the next of kin, the obituary is forwarded to the Shipmate Obituary Editor for publication stating that the family has approved it. The Obituary Editor will arrange for entering the data into the Alumni Register master database.  

a.       The current Obituary Editor of Shipmate: 

Timothy Elizabeth Woodbury (wife of Jeff '91)

U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association - Memorial Affairs

obits@usna.com - 410-541-6506 

5.      The CR should notify the Class President when the action is completed.  

6.      "Guidelines for Structuring an Obituary" are set forth in paragraph III.  Paragraph IV provides a sample obituary (i.e., an excerpt from the June-July 2008 edition of Shipmate).  

7.      Obituaries for non-graduate classmates have been submitted to and published in Shipmate.  It is up to the CR to determine whether or not to seek/obtain/create and submit an obituary of a non-graduate to Shipmate.  

III - GUIDELINES FOR STRUCTURING AN OBITUARY  

1.      There are two Shipmate requirements:.    

                                          a.     An obituary cannot exceed 400 words.

b.      The family must approve the obituary.  

2.      Funeral homes and friends/family members often provide preliminary obituaries.  Such obituaries are useful for factual reference, but almost invariably are too long.  

3.      Situations vary greatly, but the following are suggestions for shortening an obituary:

a.       If survivors are listed (and they generally are) only the wife and children should be listed by name.  Grandchildren are OK if there aren’t too many. Cousins, aunts and uncles can be aggregated (e.g.," four aunts, two uncles, seven first cousins”).  Do not list pre-deceased mother and father. 

b.       As a general rule, more space should be devoted to the classmate’s post-military retirement life, somewhat less to his service history and a minimum to his life at USNA. (There are obviously many exceptions to this approach).  

IV – EXAMPLE OBITUARY (Excerpt from the June-July 2009 edition of Shipmate)  

"A Fitting Tribute: How to Write an Obituary by   Chet Shaddeau ’47  (June-July 2008 177)  

First of all, be aware of the prevailing length limit (presently 400 words).  I generally begin the obit with a flat statement, including full name and title, of the time, place, and cause (if available) of death.  I then proceed to place of birth, date of birth, age, early schooling and parents, as available and appropriate, followed by the source and type of appointment to the Academy. The description of the Midshipman career is usually very short, but may well expand if he was an All American, a six-striper, Rhodes Scholar, or whatever, and I try to include clubs and sports as available. I always indicate which Company he (or she) graduated with, as it is invariably asked for by Classmates.  If married, I try to include wife’s maiden name, home, and date of marriage. If there has been more than one spouse—for whatever reason—be as accurate as possible—these can be dangerous rocks and shoals! I generally follow with his (or her) service career, in as much detail as possible, but keeping it concise. I ignore routine  'meritorious” and “attendance” medals, but highlight decorations for valor ships, stations, and aircraft squadrons. I attempt to pinpoint as fully as possible, but exact dates are not usually included—they are too hard to get right. Civilian careers should be covered in similar detail, and include honors, fraternities, and civic distinctions as appropriate. Advanced education and degrees are important in both civil and military careers. Fit them in where they occurred.   In retirement, hobbies, charities, and clearly interesting activities should be included. Use judgment about detail in listing survivors—if there are only a few, detail is possible, but if he had 14 grandchildren, don’t try to name them all.  Occasional mild humor is not out of place—but pick your subjects carefully!  Finish off with known details about place, date, and manner of final disposal of remains and services. It is probably best to avoid matters regarding memorial donations unless specifically requested by family.  Remember that the family will be extremely attuned to details, so be cautious about making any assumptions as to relationships. Avoid them if unsure. Try to talk with a member of the family other than the widow, in most cases, who will be able to give details without inflicting further pain. I refer here to divorces, estranged family, live-in girlfriends, deceased or disabled children, etc., but it refers equally to all details.  Try to get an obit from the local paper—it usually has much of what you want, but remember that unlike the local Daily Bugle, you are writing for a specialized audience of Academy Alumni, who are probably interested in some things that the paper (and the family!) simply do not understand. References by hometown papers—and widows—to “steering battleships” when he was a DD skipper are not uncommon! Correcting that is your job. Navy acronyms (like COMSUBORDDEVDET) probably should be avoided if their meaning is not obvious.  If you write the obit, sign it. If the family writes it, credit them, even if you edit. Keep in mind that the family will probably clip and retain the obit, and it will be a keepsake for them. They deserve good work.  And for God’s sake, try to get all the names spelled correctly!  The following is a fictionalized example, but you may find other useful ones in previous and subsequent issues of Shipmate:  

WATER TIGHT DOOR ’47

Water T. Door died of a stroke at Nowhere, NE, on 31 June 200X. He was 75 years old.

A native of Nowhere, “Leaky” attended Enormous State University prior to receiving his congressional appointment to the Academy from Connecticut. He was a varsity fencer, was Fourth Battalion Commander, and graduated with the Class in June of 1946 as a member of the 15th Company.  Upon graduation, he served briefly in JONES (BB-96), and decommissioned her, then operated from the Philippines for a year in PCE-871 and another year out of Kwajalein in PC-1186. He served thereafter in NEVERSINK (DD-999) until his resignation in 1949. In 1949 he began his engineering career with Acme Widget Corp.  where he was to spend his entire civilian working life. He served as plant superintendent of two widget-producing plants; superintendent of production; assistant chief engineer, then chief engineer; executive vice-president, president in 1970, president and CEO in 1971, then chairman and CEO from 1984 to 1989, when he retired as chairman emeritus.  He served on the boards of numerous corporations, as well as on the Robert E. Lee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Multiple Numbness Society, the Boards of Trustees of Beauregard College and of Agnes Trundleberg Seminary, was a past president of the Nowhere Chamber of Commerce, and of the Amos Glotz Society of America.  He held membership in numerous professional, business, and technical societies, was a member of Sigma Chi and of Rotary, and was particularly active in working to make Nowhere the host city for the 1960 International Widgeting Competition.  He is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Mary Ann McCarthy of Clam Beach, CA; sons, Water Jr. and Airtight; ten grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.  Memorial services were conducted on 4 August 200X at the Nowhere Memorial Church, with interment at Serenity Memorial Gardens in Nowhere, and military honors were provided by the American Legion, Nowhere Post 246.

—Chet Shaddeau ’47"  

APPENDIX A - U. S. Navy Academy Cemetery

APPENDIX B – Optional Concepts for Obituaries  

 

APPENDIX A - U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery  

INTERMENT IN THE U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY CEMETERY

And

INURNMENT IN THE USNA COLUMBARIUM  

1.      Criteria for Interment in U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery

-          USNA graduate who attained Flag Rank while on active duty

-          Distinguished Graduate Award (DGA) recipient

-          Spouse of USNA graduate who attained Flag Rank while on active duty (FN-1)

-          Spouse of DGA recipient (FN-1)  

2.      Criteria for Inurnment in USNA Columbarium

-          USNA graduate

-          Spouse of USNA graduate (FN-2)  

3.      How to arrange interment in USNA Cemetery or Inurnment in USNA Columbarium

-          Contact:    Memorial Affairs Coordinator

                                    U.S. Naval Academy

                                    101 Cooper Road

                                    Annapolis, MD 21402-5027

                                    Phone: 410-293-1101

                                    FAX:   410-293-4809

                                    Current Coordinator:  Sharon Moffatt (moffatt@usna.edu)  

FOOTNOTES:

FN-1: If spouse’s remains are or will be interred in USNA Cemetery

FN-2: If spouse’s ashes are or will be in the USNA Cemetery Columbarium

 

APPENDIX B –Optional Concepts for Obituaries

OPTIONAL CONCEPTS FOR OBITUARIES

1.      Company member prepares his own obituary  

a.       The classmate who prepares his own obituary will greatly assist his family and his CR when the time arrives for the preparation and submission of his obituary to Shipmate. 

b.      The classmate who prepares his obituary should file a copy with his Last Will and Testament and provide a copy to his next of kin advising that this is his obituary of choice.  (The classmate may provide a copy to his Company Representative if he considers it appropriate to do so; but this is strictly the classmate’s decision).    

c.       CR's may (but do not have to) encourage each company member to prepare his obituary.  

2.      Company member prepares a personal biography

 

a.       Rationale:  Recently CRs have had the following experiences in orchestrating the preparation and submission of a classmates obituary to Shipmate:  

                                                              i.      A classmate’s second wife who he married after leaving the service had virtually zero knowledge of her husband’s military career; hence she had great difficulty assisting in the development of an obituary or approving an obituary developed for her husband.

                                                            ii.      The children of a classmate, whose wife preceded him in death, had limited knowledge of their father’s military career; hence had difficulty assisting in the development of an obituary or approving an obituary developed for their father.

                                                          iii.      One of these CR’s proposed that each classmate be encouraged to develop a personal biography.  

b.      Consideration:  By preparing a personal biography, a classmate facilitates the creation of the high quality obituary a Naval Academy graduate deserves.       

                                                              i.      Although preparation of a personal biography will take time, such an effort would be of immeasurable value to family members, a close friend, a classmate and the CR when faced with the preparation of an obituary at a very trying time. 

                                                            ii.      An equally important consideration is that this personal biography could be of immeasurable value to children and grandchildren who may not know as much detail about their father’s or grandfather’s life as they someday will want to know. 

                                                          iii.      Preparation of a personal biography should be viewed as a bequest to descendants as well as an assist to those family members, friends, classmates and CR who will create his obituary.     

                                                          iv.      Copies of the personal biography should be provided to family members and attached to his last will and testament.  He may also provide a copy to his company representative if he considers it appropriate to do so. 

                                                            v.      The information contained in the biography will enable the Company Representative to work with family members, a close friend or classmate to create, in a timely manner, a quality obituary for submission to Shipmate.  

                                                          vi.      The CRC has a “laundry list” of data typically included in a personal biography and will provide a copy to a CR upon request.   

c.       CR's may (but do not have to) encourage company members to prepare personal biographies.  

3.      Supplementary means of disseminating obituary information  

a.       Class Corresponding Secretary (CCS)

                                                              i.      In the Class Column in Shipmate, the CCS has created a section titled “Closing Ranks”.

                                                            ii.      In this section, the CCS lists the date and place of passing of a classmate and the passing of the spouse of a classmate. 

                                                          iii.      The CCS does not include entire obituaries in the Class Column.

                                                          iv.      CCS:  Captain William G. Schramm, USN (Ret) (Bill)

           17 Calera Canyon, Salinas, CA 93908

           Phone: 831-484-9058

           Email: w_schramm@comcast.net  

b.      Webmaster

                                                              i.      The Webmaster posts on the Class Website the date of the passing of a classmate and of the passing of the spouse of a classmate.

                                                            ii.      The Webmaster also posts complete obituaries of deceased classmates and deceased spouses of classmates.

                                                          iii.      Webmaster:  Captain Alfred E. Victor, USN (Ret) (Fred)

                     18148 Bowles Road, P.O. Box 993

                     St. Mary’s City, MD 20686

                     Phone: 301-866-0898

                     Email: avictor@erols.com

                     Class Website: http://1958.usnaclasses.com/

 

4.      CR’s and ACR’s

a.       Upon receipt of information regarding the passing of a company mate or the spouse of a company mate, CR’s and ACR’s should notify the CCS and the Webmaster of the date and place of death of these individuals.

b.      CR’s and ACR’s also should include the Webmaster as an addressee on all obituaries passed to the Shipmate Obituary Editor

 

UPDATED: 03/05/16