Obituaries

Helen Aby
B: 1928-06-06
D: 2018-08-15
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Aby, Helen
Michael Stine
B: 1979-11-22
D: 2018-08-11
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Stine, Michael
Timothy Marpoe
B: 1991-11-12
D: 2018-08-08
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Marpoe, Timothy
Sarah Martin
B: 1922-07-28
D: 2018-08-07
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Martin, Sarah
Vonnie Eckenrode
B: 1944-02-11
D: 2018-08-06
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Eckenrode, Vonnie
Max Higgins
B: 1938-04-21
D: 2018-08-06
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Higgins, Max
Ronald Appleby
B: 1939-12-06
D: 2018-08-02
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Appleby, Ronald
Vonnie Helman
B: 1937-07-21
D: 2018-07-31
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Helman, Vonnie
Florence Asper
B: 1920-01-24
D: 2018-07-29
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Asper, Florence
Karen Rotz
B: 1946-09-26
D: 2018-07-24
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Rotz, Karen
Ralph DeWalt
B: 1936-02-16
D: 2018-07-21
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DeWalt, Ralph
Homer Kissick
B: 1933-10-07
D: 2018-07-14
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Kissick, Homer
John Roddick
B: 1921-05-02
D: 2018-07-14
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Roddick, John
Lawrence Caution
B: 1951-02-03
D: 2018-07-14
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Caution, Lawrence
Lori Leitzel
B: 1965-10-01
D: 2018-07-11
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Leitzel, Lori
Paul Detweiler
B: 1930-05-19
D: 2018-07-09
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Detweiler, Paul
Mary VanScyoc
B: 1930-07-22
D: 2018-07-04
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VanScyoc, Mary
Lester Holtry
B: 1930-08-19
D: 2018-07-03
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Holtry, Lester
Sarah Tosten
B: 1942-02-05
D: 2018-07-03
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Tosten, Sarah
Robert Zeigler
B: 1948-02-05
D: 2018-06-30
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Zeigler, Robert
Dennis Ott
B: 1990-06-18
D: 2018-06-29
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Ott, Dennis

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How to Tell Family Members

When the death is unexpected, the news will surely have been a shock to you – so you need to expect that reaction in those you tell. Even when the death is expected, as in a long illness, or when a loved one is in hospice care, the news may be difficult to deliver.

Before you go any further, the overriding question to ask, no matter the situation, is this one:


How Do You Want Your Family to Remember This Tough Time?

Think about it. This will be a time in their life they will always remember. Just how do you want them to look back on it?  

We’re confident you’d say you want them to remember it as a time of loving compassion; where the news of their loved one’s death was delivered with kindness and understanding. And that takes forethought. One aspect of thinking ahead includes avoiding the Internet channels of communication during the first hours after a loved one dies.

You want to be very careful that this information is not broadcasted through Facebook or Twitter (or any other social media site), or via Instant Messaging, before you’ve had the opportunity to connect with family members personally.


Stop, Think…and then Speak

You know your family members, and chances are you can predict how each one of them needs to be cared for during this difficult time. Our best advice is that you walk into this situation with your “eyes wide open”, and set the stage accordingly.

Then, you need to think about how you will break the news. It’s preferable to deliver such news in person, but if that’s not possible, a phone call will have to do. In either case, we have some valuable suggestions:

  • Protect them by asking them to sit down. After all, such news can often make someone’s knees buckle, and send them crashing to the floor.
     
  • Choose your words carefully. You know the right words for the person you’re speaking to hear. If using a phrase like “passed on”, “passed away”, or “gone to a better place” makes sense, then use it. If you think they would they would rather hear their loved one has died, then that word is appropriate.
  • Give them as many of the details involved in the death as you feel they need to hear right now.
  • Let them know they can continue to ask questions during the days ahead, and that they can openly express any emotions they are feeling now – and in the future – such as fear, guilt, sadness, depression, or anger.

After the call is made, or the news shared in person, keep the lines of communication open. And in the days to come, help your family member (to the best of your ability, considering your own grief) work through these emotions by encouraging them and reassuring them. Naturally, family members should support one another; so don’t neglect to turn to them for support as well.