The fault of too much generosity

The featured person must have been extraordinarily special if his or her family was willing to spring for a two-column wide, boxed obituary in the local newspaper. That’s my assumption, and when it happens, I take notice. This past Sunday, there were two such entries, book ending the spread of shorter obits.

One of the obituaries paid tribute to a woman of modest means – a child of the Great Depression who worked for 30 years in a factory after raising four sons. The other described a successful businessman, civic leader, and long-time college trustee. I doubt their paths had crossed in life, yet here they were, sharing the spotlight just days after their deaths.

Skimming their stories, I noticed that both were lauded for a charitable spirit. She, the good neighbor who was always there. He, the community volunteer and big-hearted philanthropist. She in the mode of the widow and her mite. He, a redeemed version of the Luke 12 farmer.

For her, charity began at home with family and friends. For him, the scope of giving ranged wider, including his alma mater, church, and community.

Of her it was written: “What small fortune she acquired, she was always compelled, to a fault, to share it with others.” Of him, it was said that he “helped numerous charities and people in need without wanting recognition.”

Two long lives, joined at the end of the day by a common descriptor – generous. No wonder their families thought them special. So special, in fact, that two-column wide, boxed obituaries in the local newspaper were required to tell their stories.


Not that I anticipate it will appear in print anytime soon, but when my family writes my obituary – the final posting for the person who was Rebekah Burch Basinger – I pray that the worst and the best that can be said of me is I was generous to a fault. I can’t think of a better summation upon which to take my leave of this world.

As I say often, and as I’ll be happy to have it said again that last time, generous matters.


  1. Wow! Those are powerful words for a Monday morning!

    • I hope I didn’t sound morbid with references to obituaries and death, but it’s not often that I see deceased individuals acknowledged for their generosity. So to see this twice on one day, seemed remarkable and blog worthy.

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