What to say about George?

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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George Ferguson. Via Times Colonist

George Ferguson. Via Times Colonist

An enchanting obituary from the Times Colonist newspaper of British Columbia, Canada, describes the life of George Ferguson.

“What to say about George?” It begins. “Certainly, no one could accuse him of having been a loving son, brother, or father. He’d gladly have stolen the shirt off your back and he was generous to a fault with other people’s money. Was he a small-time con-man with grandiose schemes? Probably. But another view of him is that he was the most exciting member of his family and of the families he married into.”

It goes on to detail his exploits, his affairs, his deceptions. And his later years, when his charms had worn thin.

“Of late, he was in no condition to skip town. And women just don’t see old men on scooters as the stuff of their dreams – they see them as impending burdens. Perhaps George felt cornered. Perhaps he thought that, under his present circumstances, dying was the only way out.”

The obituary appears without a byline, but click through to an accompanying story on Legacy.com and the author is revealed: George’s daughter, Karen Shirley.

She spoke to NBC Today:

“I wanted a true but positive picture of George out there,” Shirley said, noting that she and her sister called their father “George,” not “dad,” to distance themselves from a man she described as “a dangerous person.”

Part of the danger: He made several “fake suicide attempts” to “manipulate us into doing what he wanted,” Shirley said. He also died owing debts that ran into the five figures, she said, caused by a life of irresponsibility, both in terms of his spending and his drinking. “God, he sure lived longer than he should have,” Shirley said. “After what he did to that body? But it sure makes me optimistic about mine.”



See also: Obituaries: “oases of calm in a world gone mad”

The best sentences in literature

Ten of the best opening lines in news reports

Ten of the funniest newspaper corrections

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