Yesterday I came across Ward’s obituary online. I was thinking about him and decided to do a Google search. His church friend who had contacted me told me there really wouldn’t be one (at his request), but thanks to the internet I expected to eventually find something out there.
My guess is it was posted by the funeral home that probably handled his cremation. It was on the Memphis newspaper’s website and it read:
Ward Charles Barnes
Ward Charles Barnes, 84, passed away January 22, 2016. Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery.
There was an online guest book to sign with only two other signatures before mine, one was a scripture that probably posts automatically and the other was condolences from the funeral home. That’s it.
It’s odd to think of a life summed up in so few words, if you think of an obituary as doing just that as some often do. But Ward’s is not really an obituary at all. Just an announcement for whoever needs it. Confirmation for whoever is concerned.
I did learn that he was 84. I had been unsure of his age all these years. That means he was around 61 or 62 when we first started writing. I also now know what the C. stood for. Didn’t know that either.
Another clever Google search helped me to find his sister thanks to online Social Security records. She died at 72 in April of 2000. Since she’s listed with the same last name, I can only assume that she never married either.
And that’s it. It would be interesting to locate his parents, at least know where they are buried, and perhaps I could with some more searching.
I’m anxiously awaiting a package to arrive from his friend. She promised to send me my letters and something from Ward’s belongings. I would love to have his journals but I’m pretty sure he destroyed them. She mentioned in her letter to me that they had not located any.
My letters will do. It will be interesting to go back and read 21 years of letters that I’ve written. I may not know much about Ward but perhaps my letters will teach me something about myself.