ASSOCIATES (vol. 8 no. 2, November 2001) -

Celebration of Life


Michael D. Brooks
St. Joseph's University
Philadelphia, PA

True to my usual "scientific" approach to choosing sites to review, this latest review was chosen in a similar fashion with one notable exception. This time my selection was influenced by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

I work in a university library. The impact of the events of that day reverberated around the campus. Many students and university staff lost family and friends or know someone who did. A member of our library staff lost a family member.

In light of these events, I felt ( was a rather appropriate site to discuss. It is basically an online obituary but with a twist. Instead of being a drab, routine listing of announcements of someone's passing, published by a newspaper, is a repository for memories. It serves as an opportunity to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on.

But what really caught my interest were the links to tributes to the people who were killed as a result of the terrorist attacks. The tributes humanize the victims of those atrocities. In a few instances you get to see the faces of ordinary people who lived ordinary lives.

Many of those people were secretaries, technicians, mechanics, brokers, lawyers, school children, mail clerks, librarians, and library support staff, as well as firefighters and police officers. These were people who had families, were mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. These were people who under normal circumstances would have lived out their lives in ordinary fashion.

Now they are memorialized and immortalized in digital format for the world to see and remember (

One really interesting feature of is its commitment to maintaining a permanent presence in cyberspace. They state that all obituaries will remain permanently accessible on the site. The cost is $195 to create what they refer to as a "Life Story." A Life Story consists of a biography, eulogies, poems, and other tributes. You can submit letters and, mementos. You can also create a photo album. Five photos is the maximum they will accept. A Guest Book is also available for family and friends to leave remembrances.

They also state that they are making arrangements to ensure that all obituaries, dedications, and guest book entries will remain available even if they go out of business.

If you know someone who has a Legacy Life Story, just search for their story by typing in the last name and state or province in the search box located on every page on the site.

If you are looking for obituaries of people who may not have a Life Story with Legacy, you can search other obituary sites by clicking on the Obit Finder link or the Newspaper link. Obit Finder lets you type in a person's name and some related keyword associated with that person. The Newspaper link lets you search a list of more than 1,000 newspapers by state. There is even a link for searching Canadian newspapers by province. Want to know who some of the newspaper affiliates are? Just click on the Newspaper Affiliates link.

The site is partnered not only with newspapers but also with funeral homes. If you are looking for a particular funeral home, click on the Funeral Home Partners link, click the state, and select the funeral home. The funeral homes that are partnered with will appear in a list. Select that one you want, and then click the display button at the bottom of the page. Information about the funeral home and driving directions will be made available.

If a state has no funeral homes affiliated with, you will be informed that none are available. But if you are a funeral home director (or know of one) who is interested in becoming a partner, has contact information posted.

Another interesting feature is the site's simplicity. There is no clutter and the ease of navigation is amazing. The links are clean and simple. You know where you are going before you get there. And once there, you see just what you expect to see. It is not one of those sites where it is difficult to find links to where you want to go and find out once you get there that where you ended up is not where you wanted to be. What you see is what you click.

The pages are arranged with sparse images and text. Everything is easy on the eye. Which is not bad for a site dedicated to giving people a little peace of mind.

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