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Handout 1.5
In Memoriam

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Name: _______________________________________________________

Usually, when a person dies, his or her accomplishments and qualities are described in an obituary. But what if he or she was a controversial individual? What would you say? Charles Melville Hays was a controversial leader. Some thought he was outstanding, others disagreed.

Below are two different quotes about Charles Melville Hays. Your task is to write an obituary for Hays reflecting your opinion of him as a leader. Use the websites listed in Activity Resources to research Hays; find information to prove your opinion of him as a leader. Then, write an obituary that describes his accomplishments or failings using your findings and the guidelines below.

Hays Opinion No. 1
"Hays blundered in 1903 by building a subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company some 4,800 kilometres long; it reached Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia in 1914. . . The very expensive subsidiary was far north of major population centres and had too little traffic." http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/Grand_Trunk_Railway_of_Canada

Hays Opinion No. 2
"Mr. Hays is beyond question the greatest railroad genius in Canada. As an executive genius he ranks second only to the late Edward H. Harriman." www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/item/3858/

How to Write an Obituary
Below are some suggestions for structuring and writing an obituary, summarized from: www.jprof.com/reporting/obitstories.html.

1. The story begins with the details of the death.

2. The story goes on to give the details of the person's life, quoting someone who knows the person and can speak about him or her.

3. It ends with information about survivors and how the family would like for friends to respond.

4. An obituary story sometimes uses formal language.

5. The lead paragraph is often 2 sentences long.

6. Most obituaries try to give a specific cause of death rather than simply saying something vague.

7. Funeral arrangements should be included.

8. Obituaries usually end with a listing of surviving family members, along with information about flowers or memorials.

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