Friday, June 17, 2016


Obituary...  My sister Holly and I collaborated to write an obituary for mom, one that we hoped she'd approve of.  But when I called the Trenton Times (the paper she read every day for over 50 years, even after leaving New Jersey) I got quite a shock: the cost for published her short obituary would be well over $500.  Even more shocking: the tiny little newspaper in Lincoln, Maine would charge over $300!

My mom would never forgive us for wasting perfectly good money on something stupid like that.  I can almost hear her hollering at me for even considering it.  So instead, I'm going to self-publish it right here, where anyone searching the Internet for her name will find it:
Elinor Bernice Dilatush, 83, died peacefully in Logan, Utah early in the morning of June 8, 2016. She was the daughter of Donald and Mable MacLaughlin of Red Bank and Locust, New Jersey. For most of her life, for reasons that nobody really understands, Elinor lived voluntarily in New Jersey. Almost 50 years of that time was with her husband Thomas Jobes Dilatush on the Dilatush Nursery, along U.S. 130 just south of Robbinsville. Her only escape was the many summers she spent at Long Pond, Maine and camping all across the country with her family. She is survived by her four children: Mark, Holly, Scott, and Tom. While Elinor thought her children and their progeny were all extraordinary and superlative examples of humankind, an objective observer would almost certainly be less charitable – but she loved them all anyway, warts, questionable characters, and all.

Elinor loved flowers, ornamental plants, weeding, watering, birds, four-letter words, playing cards (almost any kind would do), and talking about creative ways to eliminate liberal politicians, ignorant voters, and religious fanatics with violent tendencies. She owned a .357 revolver and knew how to use it; allegedly she even occasionally hit a target when practicing. Elinor was a talented crafter: painting, sewing, and creative decorations were all in her repertoire. Her teasel Santa Clauses and gingerbread villages were famous; articles about them were published in the Trenton Times. Her cooking was legendary amongst friends and family; anyone lucky enough to eat at her table would remember the experience the rest of their lives. Her willpower was extraordinary; amongst her feats of self-control were her instant cold-turkey smoking cessation when the Surgeon General's report came out in 1964, and control of her diabetes through diet alone.

Elinor's favorite place on Earth was Long Pond, just north of Lincoln, Maine. She had much to cherish there: many friends, the natural beauty of the pond and its surrounds, and most of all the good times to be had fishing, paddling on the pond, and playing cards with the delightful cast of characters who frequented her cabin on the pond. Per her wishes, Elinor's ashes will be scattered in Long Pond so that she can look at the fishes, the loons, the people, and the pond she so cherished.

Elinor asked that no service or ceremony be held at the time of her death – she had an aversion to the very notion of formal mourning. Instead, she asked that family and close friends gather at Long Pond at an appropriate time to scatter her ashes and celebrate her life, and this is exactly what we are going to do.
We miss you, mom...


  1. That's quite beautiful and moving. It'd a shame the newspapers charge so much. It's worth sharing.

  2. Your mom and dad were both among my favorite people in NJ. So special--what a great loss that they're both gone now. I loved reading some of your posts about Elinor. I'll return to read more. Thanks for posting about her. I was admiring a graceful cedar tree we bought from your parents decades ago and I thought of your mom. She had written to say "goodbye," and she's been on my mind ever since. I'm glad she's at peace now and that she experienced the joy of having such wonderful children. Best wishes to you all. Marianne Meyer in Robbinsville, NJ.