Follow by Email

Friday, April 22, 2011


Dr. Cory Franklin
Carolyn Milford Gilbert

My Photo

Hosts for this unusual site are two obituarists who are well known for their work in the obituary field. Each one comes to the subject with a different set of experiences but with a common passion for the art of the obituary.

Dr. Cory Franklin is a physician who applies the scalpel of curiosity and investigation to every obituary he reads. He has a world of what-- until now—might have been called useless information. However, with a mind like a library of little-known facts for the worlds of music, sports, entertainment, this information makes him a genius at putting together the sometimes disparate pieces of a life.  Franklin is a collector of obituaries as well as a walking sports encyclopedia with a love for music and cars.

Cory Franklin, M.D. was director of Medical Intensive Care at Cook County (Chicago, Illinois) Hospital for over 20 years. He writes freelance medical and nonmedical articles. Along with over 50 medical articles and abstracts in medical journals, he is an editorial board contributor to the Chicago Tribune op-ed page.

His work has also appeared in the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times, New York Post, and has been excerpted in the New York Review of Books. He was Harrison Ford’s technical advisor and one of the role models for the character Ford played in the movie, The Fugitive..

Carolyn Milford Gilbert is the founder of the International Association of Obituarists, a group of writers, readers, aficionados and just plain fans of the art of the obituary from around the globe. She served as host for a series of obituary writers international conferences over a period of ten years. She is a writer of obituaries, a columnist and opinion writer for the Dallas Morning News and the Times Record News among other publications.  Her article "The Obituary as Literary Artform"  is published in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. A former educator, Gilbert loves a well-turned phrase whether it is written or spoken. She is in demand as a speaker as well as a guest panelist on radio and television. She has hosted a regional radio program in Texas exploring the history of the area.

Her hobbies of collecting antiques, button concertinas and rare books add to her quest for the historical and genealogical aspect of obituaries. She likens her daily reading of the obit pages—on line as well as in real newspapers-- to the search for the Golden Egg. "Almost every obituary presents a question or a quandary if you read between the lines carefully enough."

Gilbert is proud to say that her favorite sport is basketball. And the team of choice is the Dallas Mavericks. Even though she is only 4’11”, basketball is her thing---but only as a spectator sport, of course.

We hope you enjoy this innovative approach to the obituary. You have the added benefit of hearing the obit story, listening to the news of the time, hearing the person’s own voice during his lifetime, and having that obit almost come to life. New podcasts are added weekly and the older casts moved to archives. Additional material will be posted as available to add to the experience. Sid Tepps is the producer of the podcast.

We hope you enjoy the podcasts on iTunes !

Carolyn Gilbert                  Cory Franklin

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How many ways to say " He Died "

Comes Now the Obituary

By Cory Franklin

How many ways can you say “He died”? “Died” is simple enough but John Cleese’s description in the famous Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch of his ex-parrot says it with more flourish:

• Passed on

• Is no more

• Has ceased to be

• Rest in peace

• Expired and gone to meet their Maker

• Is bereft of life

• Pushing up daisies

• Whose metabolic processes are now history

• Is off the twig

• Has kicked the bucket

• Shuffled off their mortal coil

• Has rung down the curtain

• Has joined the choir invisible.

The obituaries we bring are not solemn memorials or grim tributes as print obituaries so often tend to be. Our audio stories are, as Russell Baker once wrote of well done obituaries, “…stimulants to sweet memories of better times, to philosophical richness, variety, comedy, sadness, of the diverse infinitude of human imagination it takes to make this world.”

The stories we relate are about the famous, the notorious, as well as people you never heard of who may have influenced your life and how each one of these people lived out their potential:

• How Eddie Fisher’s career was ruined after his marital escapades with Elizabeth Taylor

• Bobby Thomsen’s hitting the most famous home run in baseball history

• The spy Eileen Narne who helped the Allies win World War II and wound up in a concentration camp

• Richard Bing’s becoming one of the world’s top cardiologists and a world-class musician at the same time.

• There is humor: Tony Curtis describing that kissing Marilyn Monroe was like kissing Hitler.

• There is pathos: the end of the Pontiac, an iconic car for generations of Americans and even the death of the world’s most famous octopus.

Listen to life’s stories and little bits of history. We will bring you something that NPR, CBS Sunday Morning, your newspaper or an ordinary obituary cannot—a little extra.

Listen! What's that sound?

Listen !  What's That Sound ?


Tributes… Mysteries… Histories…Clues…Secrets :

The Obituary Has It All

You have entered an innovative garden of obituaries for your listening pleasure! In addition to reading the obituary, you can now listen on iTunes to an annotated version via podcast—one that will reveal interesting and, perhaps, little known facts. It is an obituarist’s dream.

The obituary has long been recognized as a literary art form. It is considered by most to be the document of record for one’s life. It may well be the oldest form of storytelling. Buried within an obituary is the history of an individual and a family. Sometimes the obituary reveals heretofore unknown facts. Sometimes the obituary reveals secrets not meant to be revealed. Sometimes the obituary contains misleading information—lies—meant to throw readers off the track.

• Is the deceased really deceased? Or is the obituary a tool to cover a dastardly act?

• Was that woman really THAT old? (A common question.)

• Was that really my neighbor who played with the Harry James Orchestra? (I didn’t know that.)

The goal of the podcast is to bring to life amazing obituary stories and the circumstances surrounding them. Added to the obituary itself is a running discussion between and among some of the most erudite obituarists on the planet. Fascinating!

Our goal is to offer the following for your listening pleasure:

• Timely obituaries of those who have recently made the transition from this life to the next or elsewhere

• Intriguing stories based on historical obituaries of those who have died years ago and who leave questions to be answered

• Surprising stories found between the lines of obituaries of sports figures, musicians, writers, inventors, movie stars, adventurers, rascals, doctors, lawyers

• Amazing stories found among obituaries of the rich and famous

• Unbelievable vignettes from the lives and obituaries of the unknown.

The obituary page is confirmed to be the most read section of the newspaper. It appears that everyone reads the obit page; however, many will deny being regular readers. is a chance to lean back and listen to a short discussion that will entertain you, enlighten you, stretch your imagination and cause you to wonder.

Welcome !