Your Life, Your Legacy — How Do You Want to Be Remembered, in Writing?

Obituary-Tribute Accuracy in describing our lives, after our death, is absolutely essential. As example—A friend belongs to a high school alumni group on Facebook, where classmates stay in touch daily, celebrating birthdays, sharing good and sad news alike, as an online family.

Someone shared a link to a former classmate’s recent newspaper obituary online, which had their classmate’s preferred name quite different than the one they’d known him by for four years. Active discussion ensued, wondering why in the world they never knew the boy as his obituary reflected his lifetime name to be. They saw him for over 1200 days and they never knew his “real” preferred name? Not knowing how someone really wants to be remembered creates problems, sometimes 30 years later, it seems.

Life tributes and obituaries published in the newspaper represent one way that we, or our family and friends, wish that we’ll be remembered. How much say do you want in what is printed when the time comes? What lasting message of love or faith or humor will people read and say, “Yes, that was — to a ‘T’. Exactly!” Or do you want someone who’s never talked to you or your family first trying to figure out what was important in your heart, mind, and lifetime? How will you be remembered, today, and by your high school classmates in years to come?

Callaway-Jones can help you plan exactly what you want to have for your obituary tribute, far in advance of the time you’ll need it. We have a local, professional tribute writer who can work with you, now, to create exactly how you’d like your legacy to read—5, 20 or 30 years from now. We believe you want control in preparing your final life tribute; it’s one reason we encourage our Advanced Planning Program.

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Recently, I was visiting with a longtime friend, one of our Advance Planning clients, who’d submitted her prewritten obituary tribute to us over 7 years ago when she was signing up for our Advance Planning program. She’d allowed us to serve her family when her husband died and was pleased with how we helped her navigate these waters.  She said, “I don’t want my children having to figure out what I did in my career after they were already off in other cities in their careers. No need for them to wrestle with trying to compose a tribute they hope I might like. So I did it for them, as my gift.” Thoughtful, gracious lady.

She had consulted with a local tribute writer and began their meeting by bringing a written list of the general information about her life and career. They had a good discussion, and after questions were asked and answers were given, together they came up with a tribute she describes as “exactly as I want it.” That document remains in her file here, just needing to fill in the final date—a long, long time from now. In fact, she actually updated the obituary with us last year, because there were new family members to add to the list of survivors. We make sure this tribute will run in all the cities where she lived and worked; we have our list on file.

That’s one of the benefits of our Advance Planning Program. Another is to avoid having something prepared by an outsider or a stranger at a distance, who never had the chance to hear from loved ones what was really important in your life. Our obituaries for the newspaper tend to be briefer than some or the same as most. We do this intentionally to help maintain costs affordable for everyone. Every column inch of space costs you money.

When you look at what it costs to run a tribute in newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and other major city papers, costs can spiral out of control, but if those are cities in which you were born or spent much of your life, you want to let friends and extended family know. Fortunately, our Brazos Valley area newspapers are still affordable, and we work with them every day to make sure your information is published timely.

Now we do offer something extra special to commemorate your life and legacy beyond the standard newspaper obituary, and I’ll be telling you more about that in weeks to come.

We maintain copies here of many sample tributes and orders of funeral services that are available to you to look at, any time you wish—no obligation. That’s what we do for you far in advance of when you’ll need these items. If you’d like to stop by anytime to pick up an obituary information form to start thinking about adding dates, places and full names of family members, we welcome you. We’re here for you, and preserving your legacy is our business. How will you be remembered?


Cody D. Jones ‘02
Owner and Community Member