Story Archive

I Have No Words

“It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away.” So said Dorothy McElhaney, 104, of Colonial Heights, Va., in the obituary she apparently wrote for herself, which went viral online when the Richmond Times-Dispatch published it. It was a touching story of love spanning more than a century of cultural change. One problem: it was largely plagiarized from Emily DeBrayda Phillips’s self-written obituary — and not by McElhaney, but by her daughter, Glenna Kramer, 72, who used the structure and some of the most moving prose of the Florida woman’s obituary, together with facts from McElhaney’s life, to construct her mother’s paid obit. “This has turned into quite a firestorm, one that I had not anticipated,” Kramer said. (AC/Richmond Times-Dispatch) ...She wanted everyone to remember her mother. Or somebody else just as special.
Original Publication Date: 16 August 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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