You’ll see a story about the life of prominent businessman Wayne Thorson on today’s front page. There is no formula or easy-to-follow policy for a newspaper to follow when it comes to writing what we call feature obituaries.
Good people die every week. People with stories our readers would find interesting. Of course, we can’t write about all of them. Not enough time, too many deadlines.
Take Emily Lovering, for example.
The 94-year-old Bemidji woman, well known to many people in the area, died last month. Her funeral was held Monday.
She actually was on my list of people to interview. With her vast knowledge of Bemidji history, the people she knew, the events she attended, the things she did, I was looking forward to that visit and the subsequent story it would yield.
But I didn’t get to it. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to not put visits like that off. But is it a realistic goal? Sometimes our busy lives get in the way of things we really want to do, and sometimes you never get a chance to do them.
Emily Lovering, known to friends as Emmy, had many stories to share about Bemidji. She lived here all of her life, born Emily Brooks and growing up on the Brooks farm where Walmart now stands.
It would have been interesting to learn more about her work life. I had no idea there once was a Munsingwear Bra Factory at 5th and Irvine in downtown Bemidji. Emily worked there for a short time, and even earned a trip to Duluth from the company, according to her obituary.
She was perhaps best known for her 23 years working at the Highway Host and Backyard restaurant, which was located in the building that now houses the Super Buffet.
After she retired, Emily set an awesome example by becoming one of the community’s most dedicated volunteers. That included Dorothy’s Widow Group, the Reach Program at Hope House and Nightlights at St. Philip’s Church.
She also was one of the quilters who meet every Wednesday morning at First Lutheran Church, making quilts that are donated to local homeless shelters and others who need them. The group did important work, but also provided friendships and social support for the quilters.
“Everybody loved Emily because she was so willing to help and do things,” one of her fellow quilters told me the other day. “She was really a special person.”
Emily also experienced more than her share of tragedy. Bring preceded in death by husband Steve and six siblings might not be unusual for someone who lives to the age of 94, but she also lost four of her six children and three grandchildren.
But her strong faith and good friends helped her through.
“She always depended on God to get her through it,” her quilting friend told me, “and He did.”