Constant Reader will remember that every time I have switched duties in 40-plus years of work, the thing I was doing at that particular moment instantly became my “favorite.”

But I really, truly loved writing obituaries when they were still a part of the news product. I had rules, which were unbending, much to the chagrin of the state’s funeral directors. Among the rules were the inclusion of age and date of birth, no exceptions, and no poetry, Bible verses, prayers or “thanks, Mom!” sentiments.

Even though they are no longer under my umbrella of responsibility, I still read every word of every obit every day. It’s like reading Wyoming history.

This month there have been two extraordinary obituaries printed, one for a woman I never met and one for a woman I knew.

Both were long-married to one spouse.

Both were mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

Both were devoted to their faith.

Both were unquestionably loved by their families.

Both reminded me very much of Peggy Jane the Mom.

If I were to die before I had the chance to write my obituary, specifying “please no editing,” in CAPS BOLD at the top, I wonder what my kids would say about me.

I think they would say that I raised them to be independent, and that they wish maybe I hadn’t been so strident in that. In consciously trying not to hover, I think I went overboard the other way. Kids need guidance and I did not always provide that.

I think they would say I loved my job — mostly — and that it wasn’t always easy being my kid.

They would probably mention that they wish I could have had a conversation with them instead of making it sound more like an inquisition. (What they call “inquisition,” I prefer to think of as my rapid-fire interview approach.)

They would probably mention that they wish I would have listened more, which I would have been happy to do if they had talked more.

I hope they would say that they knew that I loved them beyond measure, and that I didn’t need to write that in order for them to know it.

In truth, being their mom is the highlight of my life — more than the job, more than my fanatical interests, more than anything.

I know that being our mom has been the highlight of Peggy Jane the Mom’s life.

For the two women whose obits I reference, I know that their 12 combined children would say the same.

May we all be looked upon with as high regard as were Mary Bouzis of Casper and Mary Yung of Glenrock.

And as we say in our church, “Eternal rest, grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”

Get the latest local news delivered daily directly to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS


Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

Load comments