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When an older person passes away, why is a "young" picture often placed with the obituary?

This does not happen all the time, but frequently. Does anyone know why?


Asked by Teachermom01 at 10:17 PM on Nov. 18, 2008 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (15)
  • I think that many people want to post a picture that they feel captures the 'essence' of the person... for some that may be a picture of when they were younger.

    When my grandfather passed away my grandmother and her children went through pictures trying to find one to display at the funeral that summed up my grandfather's life. The one they eventually chose shows him standing in front of the boat lifts at his cottage (his favourite place to be) and he was smiling and waving to the camera. So many people were moved by the picture because it was like he was waving goodbye to us all. It so happened that the picture was recent (he died suddenly so he looked healthy in the picture) but if it had been years old we would still have used it because it summed him up so well.

    My grandmother now has that picture on her wall and it still moves me. I am actually getting teary writing about it!

    Answer by Freela at 12:20 PM on Nov. 19, 2008

  • I think it's that family want others to remember the lost how they were and not how they ended up. Especially if that past loved one had been suffering from an illness, no one wants a picture of Auntie with no hair and radiation burns on her face, a nice picture from before they got sick is much nicer of a memory. JMO

    Answer by son_and_moon at 10:22 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • I think it's to remember how they used to be. Also because it might make some people feel better to see the person young how they used to be.

    Answer by sweetsmo at 10:22 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • I would still think that there would be many pics of a loved one throughout their lives, not necessarily one where they were sick or near death. That is why I wonder. Thanks!


    Answer by Teachermom01 at 10:26 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • I know for my Dad's obituary I picked the most handsome picture I had of him. It was picture of him when he was 29 years old. I wanted that one so I could see that wonderful picture next to a small bit of his life's story and tribute to him in print. Five years later it still makes me very emotional!!!

    Answer by happy2bme7 at 10:36 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • When my brother died this year, my dad posted a photo of him from when he was about eight. One woman we didn't know came to his funeral, she said, because of the photo. Whatever she saw, may be the reason my dad chose it. My brother had an extremely difficult life beginning in his teens, and we saw a change for the better beginning two years ago. Unfortunately, a simple medical problem took him from us and the world.

    But as for what people do, I guess, I don't know. Maybe more people know them from their younger days or that photo picks up the family resemblances. My mom was a teacher and her photo was the one she had taken with her class photos that year.

    Answer by LauraMi261 at 10:42 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • Sometimes obituaries are placed for people out of town -- obviously if they haven't lived there in a long time they would not recognize the person in a recent photo.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:00 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • Its been mentioned by other moms but I have to agree. Many people who die elderly suffered a long death. A picture of them the way they will be carried in the families hearts (not hooked up to life support etc) helps with the healing process I think. Especially if the person became mean and verbally abusive later in life. My husbands grandmother cussed me out and told me I had no right to marry her grandson and then teh following week apologized saying she was on dope. Definitely not the way I want to remember her.

    Answer by humaniterian87 at 11:10 PM on Nov. 18, 2008

  • My great uncle had passed away on July 4th 2007. I had put my uncles navy picture in the paper. He looked so handsome and I was amased. He was 84 yrs old when he died. I just thought he looked so happy in that picture. Also, my nephew and I had decided for get the fancy suit. I had never seen him in one. So, we buried him in his Mickey Mouse T shirt from 1970s. I just remember all the times that he wear that shirt. People in family state death is part of life. If you lived as long as I have, then you would understand that it is not worth crying at their funeral. Of course I did. My great aunt died four months longer ( his wife) they were married for over 50 yrs. Can you believe that one?????

    Answer by VIVTWINS at 12:21 AM on Nov. 19, 2008

  • One more thing, My grandfather was award by the state. He had 12 brother and sister. All went into foster care. Back then they didn't go to school much the boys worked farms. Well, we had put his younger picture in the paper. Well, since the picture was of him young, what brother and sister that didn't die yet showed up to the funeral. It is sad to say but sister lived in the same town for years and never know he was there.

    Answer by VIVTWINS at 12:24 AM on Nov. 19, 2008