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Appropriatness of sending death notice to class

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 01/02/11 11:51 AM Views: 2033 Replies: 15
Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 11:51 AM

We are wondering if anyone sends out an email to the class when a classmate has died. I realize if the classmate was registered and everyone subscribed to updates this would be automatic. But we just had another loss and we were thinking if a notice to all classmates is appropriate. Opinions?

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM - Response #1

I post an announcement on the home page, leaving it up for about 30 days with a class photo of the individual and post the same to our Facebook group page.

I'll also include the information in the next email the class that's sent out.

We're of the age and at the stage where we lose about one classmate a month on average out of the approximately 500 living members.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:23 PM - Response #2

If the email was before the service I could see a great advantage to letting everyone know in case they wanted to attend.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:24 PM - Response #3

We have 26,0000 names on our site. I send the obit to everyone when ever I find one. It seems like the older classes like this because they may have know the person from another class. The young people don't like it until someone they know shows up there that they did not find out about. They are usually gratefull then. I also like to send a picture if I can get one.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:29 PM - Response #4

Because many classmates don't check our web page that often, I send an email to the entire class, with the hyperlink to the obit, and post an annoucement that will expire in about ten days.

Further, we have a 'Prayer Request' page, and class members will generally make a post there as well.

Of just under 600 class members, we have lost 53 to date.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:32 PM - Response #5

We send out an e-mail to all who are on our e-mail list. The deceased is then entered in our "In Memoriam" section---usually accompanied by the obituary. (I have a wonderful "co-captain" who once worked for a cemetery and he makes sure that the death is authentic and no irrelevant facts or suppositions are added.) (Caution: Remember that well-known quote, "Rumors of my death have been greatly exadurated..." When we first started the website I almost posted a death notice of the WRONG person so we make sure it's verified first.)

It's my feeling that, as administrators of a class website, we OWE it to the deceased AND to the remaining living classmates to let them know we've "lost" someone. And to pay honor to the lost, great and small.

Our "In Memoriam" section also allows classmates to post their memories of the person. We've even allowed family members of that classmate access to the posts that they might be comforted that their loved one was well-remembered.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 12:48 PM - Response #6

funny you should ask, just did that this morning. Only sent it to that person's year though, we are a multi year site

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 1:07 PM - Response #7

We have a multi-year site (55 years and 19,000 classmates). We post the obit in the In Memory section and send an email announcement to the decedent's class as well as the 2 classes before and after. At the end of the month, we send an email to everyone listing all the additons to In Memory.

We have a person assigned to this and she has signed up on the online obituary services with an automatic notification for any obituary with "Albemarle High" included. This does not get all, but helps a lot.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 1:23 PM - Response #8

I concur with Ronna's comments.

I'd also like to underscore the importance of making sure you have a positive ID on the death of the classmate before posting anything. I like to have a death certificate or a verifiable obit, but, sometimes the word of a knowledgable classmate who has has firsthand knowledge will suffice. I often learn about the passing of a classmate many years after the fact, and in those instances it's often easy to id them online in the Social Security Death index.

I think it's important to share the passage of a classmate with an all-class email if it is a very fresh event - and the most compelling reason is so that other classmates can contact surviving family members for consolation calls and emails. That means you'll need to know at least the name of the surviving spouse or close relative and also have an email you have permission to share with other classmates.

And of course, I also like to post a memorial comment on the In Memory page, written by someone close to the deceased classmate talking about how he lived his life and so on.

Kind regards,


Edited 01/02/11 1:24 PM
Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 2:03 PM - Response #9

Verifying is most important. Sometimes a family may just post the death notice in the local paper which for here is just the name, age and date of death. If they are being served by a funeral home, I will call to confirm the deceased was our classmate.

I post a notice on our home page but don't e-mail the class. I do this for a spouse too. I send condolences to the family if we have an address. Years ago I bought cards but I found a generic "sorry for your loss" type of message on special paper and quality envelope worked best.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 2:14 PM - Response #10

Coincidentally, Patte, I sent notice out of a death yesterday, the third in recent months. Wherever the news comes from and whenever it comes it will be unexpected to some of your Classmates. There's no simple solution but it's better them knowing than not knowing. So long as whatever you send out is gently worded it's appropriate to do so. Once I find out more about the person and the circumstances of their death I add their name to the In Memory page to give others an opportunity to say something in remembrance. This works well for me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 4:18 PM - Response #11

I always send an email to entire class. I also try to post widow/widower address in case someone wants to send a sympathy card. I post obit from newspaper on In Memoriam page and include in email. We have lost 16 of ~260 so not an everyday occurrence. I have been thanked for doing this and don't see the downside.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM - Response #12

I post the deaths of classmates, spouses, parents, etc., to a User Forum page generally via a copy of the obituary. I also post other deaths from our old school hometown that might be of interest to us "old" folks. Those that have commented have all been positive, and appreciative, about such postings.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 8:19 PM - Response #13

After verifying the report of a death, I send out an email to the class with either info on any funeral arrangements or advising that info will be available on the In Memory page when available. Sometimes plans change so you need to be careful. Classmates really appreciate the info but I honestly hate to be the bearer of bad news.

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 10:22 PM - Response #14

I send out email, some classmates don't visit the site on a regular basis, we followed one of our classmates since he was diagnosed with cancer last March or April, he left us Dec 14th. The encouragement he and his wife received from the classmates was a lifeline of sorts for him as expressed by his wife. I never published anything without her permission> We had a class of 120 and have lost two members this year, both since our 50th reunion in Aug, the first one was 2 days after reunion. We have been fortunate and have only lost a total of 14 members to this date.

Monday, January 3, 2011 at 12:03 AM - Response #15

I send out email obits from our hometown paper or if I heard from a reliable source for those who are not posted in the town paper. I also watch for the death of parents or siblings of our classmates. I always add any address info I have, in case they want to send a card. Even hometown people may miss a notice in the paper so i make sure that all classmates get the notices.
At one point this year I had sent so many obits I begged the class to send me some good news to post.

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