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Posts Tagged ‘obituaries

A Life Well Lived…

As the late Twentieth Century philosopher Jim Morrison noted, “nobody gets out of here alive”… the more important, then, to make that most of the time one has.

Omer L. Baumgartner

AMES, Iowa – Noted Midwestern raconteur Omer L. Baumgartner passed away at this home in Ames, Iowa on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. He was 90 years old. Mr. Baumgartner had lived a long and passionate life dedicated to rambunctious performances and dairy products.

Born on a dairy farm in Walnut, Ill., Baumgartner was prodigious with the movement of manure from an early age, and exercising these and other talents, earned recognition for his National 4-H Grand Champion Dairy Heifer, Clementine’s Ramona, in 1930 at the age of 10. After this debut, and as the Depression raged, Baumgartner cut his teeth in the livestock industry while attending hundreds of county and state fairs, showing and selling cattle, frying oysters, skinning rabbits, and drinking whiskey. While still a freshman at the University of Illinois, he successfully quelled the great dairy upraising of 1938, averting a desperate ice cream shortage in Chicago, and was immediately recruited, without finishing college, by the state’s Guernsey Breeders Association as a field agent.

Despite never learning to cook anything other than fried oysters, Baumgartner attained the rank of captain during World War II for running mess halls feeding over 5,000 in Tennessee and Alabama for the Army Air Corps. He was wildly popular with the troops for his mess hours bongo drum performances accompanied by dancing girls. Baumgartner notably worked for L.S. Heath and Company, running the dairy division and inventing Heath Bar ice cream in 1951. He also co-ran Wilkinson’s Office Supplies with his wife Jattie Wilkinson Baumgartner, serving one-third of the state of Illinois and parts of Iowa. Baumgartner disliked vegetables his whole life. Despite consuming more than 2,000 pounds of butter, he never suffered from any kind of heart disease. His last meal was ice cream.

[Galesburg.com, where readers will find the full obit; via Dangerous Minds]

As we commit to carpe each diem, we might recall that it was on this date in 1885 that Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in the U.S.   Considered by many to be the Great American Novel, Huckleberry Finn has been controversial from it birth (e.g., here and here)– indeed, the controversy began before its birth:  The UK and Canadian edition came out two months earlier; the U.S. version was delayed because one of the engravers added an obscenity to one of the illustrations: on p. 283, an illustration of Aunt Sally and Silas Phelps was augmented by the addition of a penis.  Thirty thousand copies of the book had been printed before the unwanted addition was discovered.  A new plate was made to correct the illustration and repair the existing copies; still, copies with the so-called “curved fly” plate remain valuable collectors items.

Huck, as drawn by E. W. Kemble for the original edition of the book (source)

Before their time…

A number of "obituary templates" (like this one) were accidentally made public on CNN's website in August of 2003. Source: Snopes.com

In keeping with Prince’s declaration that “the Internet is completely over,”  Wikipedia’s list of premature obituaries— the example above, and many, many more untimely announcements…

(TotH to GMSV)

As we recommit to double checking, we might recall that it was on this date in 1932 that King C. Gillette actually did die.  An American businessman popularly known as the inventor of the safety razor (although several models were in existence prior to his design), Gillette’s true invention was an inexpensive, high margin stamped steel disposable blade– and the business model that later became known as freebie marketing: “give away the razor, sell the blades.”

King Gillette

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