The Willwriting Partnership

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The Funny Side of Death


Curious Legacies, Epitaphs & Quotes

In 1960 Samuel Bratt, whose wife would not let him smoke, left her £330,000 on condition that she smoked 5 cigars a day.
In 1977 Ernest Digweed left £26,000 to Jesus provided the public trustees could obtain proof “which shall satisfy them of his identity”
In 1788 David Davis left Mary Davis five shillings “to enable her to get drunk for the last time at his expense”
From the Will of a Philadelphia industrialist who died in 1947: -
To my wife, I leave her lover, and the knowledge that I wasn’t the fool she thought I was
To my son, I leave the pleasure of earning a living.  For 20 years he thought the pleasure was mine.  He was mistaken
To my daughter I leave $100,000, she will need it.  The only piece of business her husband did was to marry her.
German poet Henrich Heine left a Will with one condition, that his wife remarry. “Because” he states in his Will “there will be at least one man to regret my death”
When Onni Nurmi, a Finnish man who made money in America in the 1920s, passed away, he left dividends from 780 shares in a rubber boot comapny to be used "for the recreation of the people" living in a Finnish village nursing home.  The company, Nokia, moved into electronics in the 1980s and soon became the largest manufacturer of mobile phones.  Its shares have made millionaires of the residents of the nursing home.
An epitaph read “Here I lie snug as a bug in a rug”
An envious relative instructed that on his death he be buried in the adjoining grave with the following inscription above him “here I lie snugger than the other bugger”
Here lies W C Fields (1880-1946).  “On the whole I would rather be living in Philadelphia”
Wife of Sir Albert Morton: -
“He first deceased: she for a little tried,
to live without him, liked it not and died.”
I am anxiously expecting you – AD 1827  - Here I am. – AD 1867   (Paris, France)
Here lies my wife Polly, a terrible shrew – If I said I was sorry, I should lie too  ( Australia)
“Going, Going, Gone” – an auctioneer (New York)
“At last I get top billing”  - Wallace Ford – British actor (1897 – 1966)
“I told you I was ill!” – Spike Milligan
Dorothy Cecil unmarried.  As yet
Dorothy Parker (1895-1967) Excuse my dust
Sir Noel Coward (1899-1975) A talent to amuse
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
One Wood
Within another.
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
The other.
Someone in Winslow, Maine didn`t like Mr. Wood
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And No Place to Go.
In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery
Remember man, as you walk by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so shall you be,
Remember this and follow me.
(To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone:)
To follow you I`ll not consent,
Until I know which way you went.
In a cemetery in England
Grim death took me
without any warning
I was well at night,
and dead in the morning.
From Kent, England:
I made a lot of deals in my lifetime
But I sure went in the hole on this one.
In a Cemetery in Covington, VA
Here lies my wife, here let her lie.
Now she has peace, and so do I.
Unknown source
Quotes About Death
“Inheritance Tax; - it is, broadly speaking; a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue”
Roy Jenkins – 19 March 1986
“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes”
Benjamin Franklin
"I don`t want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve immortality through not dying."
Woody Allen
"I`m not afraid to die. I just don`t want to be there when it happens."
Woody Allen
"Always go to other people`s funerals, otherwise they won`t come to yours."
Yogi Berra
"Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it."
W. Somerset Maugham
"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing."
Redd Foxx
"I don`t believe in dying. It`s been done. I`m working on a new exit. Besides, I can`t die now— I`m booked. I can`t afford to die— I`d lose too much money."
George Burns
"The report of my death was an exaggeration."
(New York Journal, June 1897)
Mark Twain
"A recent survey stated that the average person`s greatest fear is having to give a speech in public. Somehow this ranked even higher than death which was third on the list. So, you`re telling me that at a funeral, most people would rather be the guy in the coffin than have to stand up and give a eulogy."
Jerry Seinfield
"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."
Joseph Stalin
"I want to die like my father, peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and terrified, like his passengers."
Bob Monkhouse
"Arthur hoped and prayed that there wasn`t an afterlife. Then he realised there was a contradiction there and merely hoped that there wasn`t an afterlife."
Douglas Adams

Just before the class took their final math exams, their teacher asked them the following problem to test how well they would do in the real exam.

"A rich man dies and leaves $240,000,000 in his Will. One-third is to go to his wife; one fifth goes to his son, one-sixth to his chauffeur, one eighth to his secretary; and the rest to charity. Now, what does each get?"

After a long silence in the classroom, Saul raised his hand.

"Yes, Saul," said the teacher.

"A good lawyer!" he replied.

Deathbed Quotes
“Are you sure its safe?”
William Palmer (1824-1856)  - the infamous poisoner when mounting the gallows
“I can’t sleep”
James M Barrie (1860-1937), author of Peter Pan, was wrong.  These were his last words
“Alas, I am dying beyond my means”
Oscar Wilde – (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit and dramatist
“The flames already?”
French philosopher, Voltaire (1694-1778) when the wick of his bedside lamp flared up at his deathbed.
“I feel the flowers growing over me”
English poet, John Keats (1795-1821) dying of consumption
“I am just going outside and may be some time”
English explorer Lawrence Oates (1880-1912) to his companions on Scott’s ill-fated polar expedition.  He went into a blizzard raging outside their tent, and walked to a certain death.
“It is sharp medicine, but this is that which cures all sorrows”
English explorer and adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), about to be beheaded, called for the axe and felt its edge
“All my possessions for a moment of time”
Queen Elizabeth 1st (1533-1603).  Although she lived a long life she was not ready to die!
“I shall hear in Heaven”
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), who became deaf in later life
"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
Sir Winston Churchill
"I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them."
Ian L. Fleming
"Hovering between wife and death."
(on his deathbed, when asked how he was)
James Montgomery
"Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him."
(His last words)
John Barrymore
"This is no time for making new enemies."
(when asked on his deathbed to renounce Satan)
“Why, I did not know we had quarrelled!”
Henry David Thureau
(when asked by his aunt if he had made peace with his maker.)
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die!”
Joe Louis
Funeral Orations
This is a lovely poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her "beauty tips". It was read at her funeral years later.
a. For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
b. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
c. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
d. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
e. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
f. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
g. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for  helping ourself, and the other for helping others.