George V. Reilly


Frank's obit at SGN

On Wednesday, I ac­com­pa­nied Lyn to the People’s Memorial Funeral Co­op­er­a­tive on Capitol Hill to make the arrange­ment for Frank’s cremation.

Years ago, I read Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death Revisited and it left me with an even lower opinion of the funeral industry than I already had.

I had never made any funeral arrange­ments before. It turned out to be both painless and in­ex­pen­sive. The funeral director sat down with us and gathered in­for­ma­tion for the death cer­tifi­cate that the doctor was unable to provide, such as parents’ names and other personal details. Initially, we put down “Software Doc­u­menter” as Frank’s oc­cu­pa­tion—his final job had been a ten-year stint at Microsoft as a doc­u­men­ta­tion as­sis­tan­t—but when we were proof­read­ing the printout, I suggested “poet”. And so it was. Frank published one book of poetry, How to Eat a Slug, and I know he’d rather be remembered as a poet than a Microsoft peon.

The cost was $800, as Frank was a member of the non-profit People’s Memorial co-op. It would have been a couple of hundred more otherwise. I asked how much it would have cost at a commercial mortuary, and she told us that a basic package at a well-known funeral home a few blocks away started out at $3200. Ouch!

We were unable to view Frank’s body as it was already at the cre­ma­to­ri­um in Kent, and that would have cost $150 extra to set up.

I also arranged a brief death notice in this week’s Seattle Gay News.

(Aside: the URL for People’s Memorial is I wasn’t even aware that there was a .coop TLD, but I learned that it was created with other new TLDs, such as .biz, .info, and .name, in 2002.)

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