Archived Story

Obits can tell the stories of our loved ones

Published 12:00am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Some weeks ago, we received a fax at The Democrat about a woman who had appeared in the obituaries a few days before.

The fax told the story of Edith Claughton Rowland &045; &8220;the last of her &8216;Claughton Clan’ in Roxie&8221; &045; grew up in White Apple and later moved to Roxie. Money was so tight when she was growing up that she took odd jobs &045; substituting on a mail route or selling candy, for example.

She had always wanted to become a nurse, but she never had the opportunity to study as one; she left school before the 10th grade when her father became ill.

She had real-life experience as a nurse, though, tending to her father for five months while he was in the hospital in Natchez. At night she lived with her uncle’s family, and by day she was by her father’s side.

She was baptized in 1917 in Tony’s Creek and was a member of Union Baptist Church and later Roxie Baptist Church until her death.

She had, her longtime friend Evelyn Stroder said, &8220;a Christian attitude throughout her life. She focused on the good and not the bad.&8221;

The details are the threads that made up the fabric of Mrs. Rowland’s life &045; perhaps tiny moments to some but immensely important to those who knew and loved her.

But at the time that information didn’t quite fit in any format we had available for publication.

With a strict amount of space for obituaries at the time, we had to limit the information families could submit.

In the last few years, the number of obituaries we have published has on several days of the week outgrown the space we had originally allotted. Looking to remedy this problem &045; and to allow families to tell the stories they want to tell about their loved ones &045; we decided to make a change in our obituary policy.

That change means that, beyond some basic information, we have begun charging a nominal fee for obituaries. The charges are being handled for us in most cases by the funeral homes, which alleviates the burden on families at such a difficult time.

We hope this change also reduces the number of mistakes that have inevitably made their way into obituaries through human error.

The change in our policy has forced us to move the location of the obituaries to the end of the sports section in the Tuesday through Saturday editions of The Democrat. On Sundays and Mondays, you can find them in the original location on the Records page. As we work with our new policy and system, we hope our readers will bear with us. We want to find the most ideal spot, while allowing enough room for what families want to say.

That’s one of the things we find most important about the change in our obituary policy: Families now have greater options to share the stories of their loved ones, like Edith Rowland.

If you have questions about obituaries, please call Jon Edgell or Carla Christmas at 442-9101, or e-mail

obits@natchezdemocrat.com

.

We want to be able to serve readers better, and we believe this is one way to do so.

Kerry Whipple

is editor of The Democrat. She can be reached at (601) 445-3541, or by e-mail at

kerry.whipple@natchezdemocrat.com

.