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Our Self-Written Obituaries – Richard Weiderman, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Our Self-Written Obituaries – Richard Weiderman, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The 72nd death.

[Text by Richard Weiderman]

Word has reached us of the passing of Richard Weiderman. The cause of his demise has not been reported.

Mr Weiderman always considered himself like everyone else, someone pretty much undistinguished from others. Just another bean in the bag. There was much evidence to support his conclusion. At five foot ten inches he was average in height. He was neither handsome nor hideous. Everyone has to have a face, and he had one–an unremarkable, generic one. His was only another face in the crowd.

He was, however, a man of many interests. He tried them on for a while before moving on to the next one. He wore each like a new set of clothes, only to be discarded when he tired of them. For example, there was his Jack London phase when he put together a complete set of first editions including a copy of The Little Lady of the Big House in dust wrapper that Jack gave to his mother Flora Wellman. He sent the collection to New York for auction when he was diagnosed with third-stage cancer. When friends suggested he might be sorry someday for selling his collection, he replied he hoped he would live to regret it.

After surviving in spite of his diagnosis, Mr Weiderman moved from books to oak furniture from the Arts and Crafts period in American design, particularly to the better pieces produced by the leading companies in his hometown, Grand Rapids, Michigan, once the “Furniture Capital of the World.” He was particularly fond of the work of the Charles Limbert Company.

After filling his house with too much furniture, he moved on to 400-day clocks, those interesting and beautiful German clocks that run a full year on a single wind. They are also called “anniversary clocks,” since one winds them on his birthday or on some memorable day once a year. From these he went to 12-size Elgin pocket watches and eventually to square-foot gardening and from there to landscaping his yard totally with hydrangeas.

Although Mr Weiderman had many interests, they weren’t his alone; he shared them with like-minded individuals. And like the majority of mankind he never focused on one of them exclusively, but rather flitted on to the next thing, like a “butterfly with hiccups.” Having a laser-like focus, a passionate single-mindedness of purpose is rare among our species. Most of us, like Mr Weiderman, lack that exclusivity. Instead, he was just like the other beans in the bag.

Our Self-Written Obituaries invites people to write their obituary in 200 words. The idea is to share with the world how you will like to be remembered after you are gone. (May you live a long life, of course!) Please mail me your self-obit at