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Exercise 4: Writing Challenging Obituaries

INSTRUCTIONS:  Write an obituary from the information provided below. As you work on the obituary, you will find it involves several unusual problems. Write the obituary in Associated Press style and correct any errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Obituary:  Helen Veit

FULL NAME: Reverend Helen Lynn Veit

ADDRESS: 184 Nelson Avenue

AGE: 55

TIME OF DEATH: Yesterday evening


CAUSE OF DEATH: Suicide by asphyxiation.  According to an official coroner's report, she died of carbon monoxide poisoning while seated in her car, which was running in a closed and locked garage.  Friends said she suffered from bouts of depression and was receiving medical help and counseling and medication for it.

TIME OF FUNERAL: Services will be held at 8 p.m. Friday.  Visitation will begin an hour before the services and will also be held at the church.

PLACE OF FUNERAL: First Covenant Church

PLACE OF BURIAL: Park Memorial Cemetery at 10 a.m. Saturday


PLACE OF BIRTH: Family farmhouse in Minnesota

PREVIOUS RESIDENCES: Reverend Veit grew up on a farm near St. Cloud, Minnesota.  She served in churches in Moline, Illinois, Iowa City, Iowa, Chicago, Illinois, and then here.

EDUCATION: She graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and also graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, being the first woman ever to do so.

OCCUPATION: She became minister of visitation at First Covenant Church here 11 years ago and has held the position here ever since then

MEMBERSHIPS: A member of the American Association of University Women, the women's National Democratic Club, the ACLU and Overeaters Anonymous

SURVIVORS: No known survivors.  Reverend Veit never married and had no children.  Her only sibling, a brother, Ralph Veit, was an officer in the Army and killed during the war in Vietnam.  Her parents, Abby and Gerhardt Veit, preceded her in death.

COMMENTS: "Everyone who knew her loved her," said Wendy Tai, a member of the church.  "If anyone was sick, she'd be there to take you to the hospital, talk to you, help care for your family, and then helped you get back on your feet and all."  Diana Nyez, another member of the church said, "Uh, you've never met anyone so kind.   You didn't have to ask.  She'd just appear with her arms full of food.  If you were sick—or needed help for any reason—she'd be there.  She'd even do your shopping or cleaning—anything you needed, just anything."


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