One of the lessons of Jesus Christ, immortalized in the film Dead Man Walking, is that "every human being is worth more than the worst thing they've ever done." That's worth remembering in assessing the obituary that ran last week for Tyrone Michael Adair.
The obit praised Adair as someone "who was always there for others," and mentioned that he was "preceded in death" by two "beloved daughters." Not mentioned is that Adair murdered these little girls, both 2, as well as their mothers, before taking his own life.
Pete Gunderson, a third-generation funeral director in Madison, doesn't think obituaries are the proper place "for any of that."
Gunderson, who had nothing to do with the Adair obit but was the only one of several funeral directors to respond to our inquiries, says the decision about what to include is up to family members "as part of the healing process." It's appropriate, he says, for them to be mindful of a person's entire life story, not just "that snapshot" of behavior that others might focus on.
As he puts it, "A person can be very caring and still rob a bank." Or worse.