I’ve not ever been one to pass over a finely written obituary. One of the reasons I like the Sunday Minneapolis StarTribune are the 3-4 pages devoted to obituaries. I scan the pages and read a few that catch my eye. A picture or familiar name will pique my interest. I tend to read the longer obituaries because I know they’ll be packed with detail. Today my eye led me to the obituary of Mr. Gordon Allen Locksley, a private art dealer and collector who had lived for more than 20 years in Minneapolis.
It’s not clear who wrote the obituary, as Mr. Locksley did not have children. But whoever wrote it, I tip my hat to you.
My favorite line: “He moved to Columbus, Ohio for a brief time and then to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he arrived on a bus in a snowstorm wearing an opera cape.” I know I would have liked this guy!
Another fabulous detail: “In 1974, right after a very bad snowstorm, Mr. Locksley sold a Chuck Close painting to a famous London collector over the telephone. He and his business partner left Minneapolis immediately for Rome, Italy and never returned to live in the city.”
I love the formality in that he’s referred to as “Mr. Locksley” throughout the obituary. It lends a dignified air, worthy of a renowned art dealer. The obituary does what any great obituary should do: make the reader wish he/she had known the subject. Isn’t that the aim of any piece of writing, whether it be memoir, novel, children’s book, etc.?