A Road We'll All Walk Down


Odds Are you'll Die Like This...

The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates.

- Dave Barry

It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.

- Napoleon Bonaparte

by Matt Roper

Death may be the only certainty in life - but how it comes about is anything but certain.  Papers released from secret government archives this week revealed that in 1980 government scientists were told to calculate the exact chances of a Brit being killed by a falling asteroid.  The study was an attempt to persuade the public that nuclear power was safe, and that there were plenty of other things that were statistically more lethal than a neighbourhood reactor.  After much consideration, the men in white coats calculated that that one member of the public would be killed by an asteroid every 7,000 years.

Here are other causes of death - and just what the odds are of dying in that way.

bullet300,000,000/1 Shark Attack - Around 40 people are killed every year from shark attacks, with the numbers increasing as more people take holidays on coasts where sharks live.
bullet300,000,000/1 Fairground Accident - The worst rollercoaster accident in Britain was in 1972 when 5 children were killed on the Big Dipper in Battersea, London, when one of the cars broke loose and collided with another.  Just last week 29 people were injured when the Runaway Mine Train at Alton Towers split in two.
bullet250,000,000/1 Falling Coconut - Coconuts apparently kill around 150 people every year.  Falling from a height of 80 feet, they can build up an impact speed of 50 mph.
bullet11,000,000/1 Plane Crash - Plane crashes worldwide claim 1,300 people every year.  Young men are most likely to emerge from the wreckage alive - and 12% of passengers who survive the impact will die from shock later.
bullet10,000,000/1 Killed by Lightning - In the UK around 5 people are killed by being hit by lightning every year.  And men are 4 times more likely to be struck than women.
bullet10,000,000/1 Killed by the Escape of Radiation from a Nearby Nuclear Power Station - The chances of an explosion at a nuclear reactor are increasing with the risk of terrorism and as conventional fuels run out.  The Chernobyl nuclear disaster and its aftermath has killed an estimated 30,000 people.
bullet9,300,000/1 Dying in Terrorist Attack - Last year there were 651 significant international terrorist attacks worldwide, killing nearly 2,000 people.
bullet5,000,000/1 Scalded by Hot Tap Water - Children under 5 are most at risk, with 126 accidents reported every year in Britain.  In Japan, around 150 people die from hot water scalding every year.
bullet4,400,000/1 Left-Handed People Killed Using a Right-Handed Product - More than 2,500 left-handed people are killed every year around the world from using equipment meant for right-handed people.  The right-handed power saw is the most deadly item.
bullet3,500,000/1 Dying of a Snake Bite - Snake bites kill an estimated 25,000 people a year.  More people die from snakebite in India than in any other country in the world, with the total death toll estimated I to average 10 - 12,000 annually.
bullet3,000,000/1 Dying from Food Poisoning - More than 79,000 cases of food poisoning were reported last year in the UK, while every year around 200 people die as a result of eating contaminated food.
bullet2,300,000/1 Dying from Falling off a Ladder - On average 15 people die from falling off ladders every year in Britain, and around 1,200 suffer serious injuries.  A quarter of all falls happen off ladders.
bullet2,000,000/1 Dying after Falling out of Bed - In Britain around 20 people die from falling out of bed every year, with the young and the elderly most at risk.
bullet685,000/1 Drowning in the Bath - A higher percentage of people drown in their bath water than in public swimming pools, with young children and the elderly most at risk.  Around 25 babies drown in baths every year.
bullet500,000/1 Being Killed in a Train Crash - Despite a number of fatal crashes, public transport is still the safest way to travel.  Buses are even safer than trains, with the odds of being killed 13 million to one.
bullet43,500/1 Being Killed in an Accident at Work - More accidents happen at work than anywhere else.  Every year there are more than 25,000 serious workplace accidents, killing around 300 people in the UK.
bullet8,000/1 Killed in a Road Accident - Every year 1,500 car drivers and adult passengers die in road smashes, while around 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists die in road accidents.  Worldwide, over 3,000 people are killed in road crashes daily.
bullet5/1 Dying from Cancer - Around 130,000 people die from cancer every \ year, of whom 65,000 are ' aged under 75.  The most common killers are lung, breast, colon and prostate cancer.
bullet2.5/1 Dying from a Heart Attack or Stroke - The leading cause of death in Britain, coronary heart disease and strokes account for over 200,000 deaths every I year.  Someone has a heart attack every two minutes.

Source: mirror.co.uk 1 August 2006


Archie A Arnold
18 October 1920 - 24 April 1982
Scippio Cemetery. Harlan, Indiana

When the city of Hicksville, Ohio, removed all its parking meters and sold them off, Archie Arnold, a local practical joker, bought two of them and took them to a funeral parlour to hold until his death; they are set on "Expired").

Source: undergroundhumor.com The Last Laugh: A Book of Graveyard Humour

Source: ahajokes.com

Cards from Heaven Have Dead Man Talking

Ashland, Oregon - Even in death, Chet Fitch is a card.  Fitch, known for his sense of humour, died in October at age 88 but gave his friends and family a start recently: Christmas cards, 34 of them, began arriving - written in his hand with a return address of "Heaven."  The greeting read: "I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards.  At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't tarry there.'  Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain.

"Better get back as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time, so I had better not press my luck.  I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think).  Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.  Chet Fitch"

A friend for nearly 25 years, Debbie Hansen Bernard said, "All I could think was, 'You little stinker.'  It was amazing.  Just so Chet, always wanting to get the last laugh."

The mailing was a joke Fitch worked on for two decades with his barber, Patty Dean, 57.  She told the Ashland Daily Tidings this week that he kept updating the mailing list and giving her extra money when postal rates went up.  This fall, she said, Fitch looked up to her from the chair.  "You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards," he told her.  "I think you'll probably be able to mail them this year."

He died a week later.

Source: news.yahoo.com 25 December 2007

Wrong Body Sent to Family at South Philly Funeral

Worst Funeral Ever

by Cathy Gandolfo & Dann Cuellar

It was to have been a time to say farewell to 80-year-old Kenneth Roberts.  As if funerals aren't sad and emotional enough, what happened in South Philadelphia was a nightmare for the family and friends of Mr Roberts.  The funeral was to be held at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church on South Broad Street Tuesday morning, but the body that was brought there was not that of Kenneth Monroe Roberts, a South Philadelphia resident and army veteran.  "They kept trying to tell us that it was him and I knew it wasn't him," the wife of Kenneth Roberts, Janin Holsey, said.

The body of Kenneth Roberts and that of another man were mistakenly switched.  Family members who viewed the body on Monday say they knew something was wrong and told the funeral director.  "I told them it wasn't my grandpop; all his grandkids came in here and said that's not their grandpop.  We know what my grandpop looked like, that wasn't him," granddaughter Kenayah Cerban said.

The funeral home of James Hawkins at 17th and Federal Streets handled the arrangements.  Tuesday morning, during the viewing and just before the funeral service began, the error was acknowledged.  "She came in the service and said, 'We made a mistake, that's not your husband.'  Everyone went into a rampage," sister-in-law Lois Bundy said.  The family waited an hour and a half and then Roberts' body finally arrived.  However, mourners were still horrified as the body was face down and partially hanging out of the ajar casket.  "This is not right.  I never in my life... and that's my dad and I just want it fixed," daughter Rhonda Warring said.  One man suffered a seizure and was taken to the hospital along with a woman suffering an asthma attack.  The funeral was cancelled.

A similar scene played out across town at the Francis Funeral Home in Southwest Philadelphia.  Claire Beverly and her sister were laying to rest their father, Charles, when they too realised their father was not in the casket, but rather the body of Kenneth Roberts.  "I'd like an apology and make sure this doesn't happen to another person because this is ridiculous," Claire said.  Family members say both funeral homes are owned by Frankie Francis.  Embalming is performed at the Francis Funeral home and the bodies are then transported to the services.  After repeated calls were not returned Action News went looking for answers, but found none as no one would explain what happened.  Family members say they've received the same response.  "I'm lost for words.  The words out of my mouth I don't think he wants to hear because this doesn't make sense," relative Melanie Oliver said.

The family of Kenneth Roberts is planning a small private funeral.

Source: abclocal.go.com 19 August 2009

Beloved Husband & Dad Is Mourned, but It's not His Body in the Casket

by Kitty Caparella

The mourners knew it wasn't Tex.  Nearly everyone who passed the silver casket at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church yesterday morning whispered to each other.  That's not Tex, they said.  But the corpse was wearing his blue suit and black boots.  The late Kenneth "Tex" Roberts, 80, who died Monday of a heart attack, was a jovial, mustached, retired tractor-trailer driver who loved to tell jokes, play cards and help people when they were down.  On Monday night, Roberts' wife, Janie Holsey, and others went to check the body at James L Hawkins Funeral Home, at 1640 Federal Street, and told a female employee: "This is not my husband."

But family members said the woman at the South Philadelphia funeral home insisted: "That's how they look when they die."

She was "so nasty," pushing us out of the funeral home, said Rhonda Wearing, 52, the oldest of Roberts' 3 daughters.  So yesterday morning, Roberts' wife, 8 children and 3 stepchildren stood for 2 hours greeting nearly 200 mourners inside Tindley church, at 742 S Broad Street.  "I touched him," Wearing said.  "We kissed him.  Some of us thought it was him."

About 11am, just after the funeral director gave Holsey an American flag in honour of her husband's Army military service - he was discharged in 1954 - the director asked to speak with the immediate family in a 2nd-floor conference room before the funeral was to start.  The director, whose name was not available, said: "'I'm sorry, it was a mix-up,'" said Wearing.  "That was a hell of a mix-up."

"It wasn't my dad," Wearing said.  "It was some other person lying in my dad's suit and clothes.  He wasn't dark and short.  He was brown-skinned, 5 foot 9, about 180 pounds, and wore glasses.  The man in the casket looked older than my father," she added.  And that man had been killed, she said she was told.

Horrified relatives burst into tears in the conference room.  One of Roberts' daughters yelled, "Go get my father!"  A grandchild screamed, "Where's Pop Pop?"  "They were crying and running around in circles," said Lois Bundy, 73, a sister-in-law.  "It was terrible, it was just chaos, it really was."

Distraught, hysterical mourners poured out of the church onto the sidewalk, while others tried to calm them down.  "It traumatised all of us," Wearing said.  Keith Harris, 19, had a seizure and was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  An unidentified woman had an asthma attack and was also taken to a hospital, Wearing said.

Meantime, the funeral home found Roberts' remains, and rushed them back to the church.  When an assistant opened the door of the hearse, mortified relatives screamed at the sight.  "The casket had tilted and his leg was hanging out," said Wearing, who believed they drove so fast, hitting bumps, that the casket opened.  "It was unspeakable," she added.

"How do you not know the person [deceased] had a heart attack?  Why did we have to stand in line looking at the casket at a guy who was not my father?" Wearing asked.  WPVI-TV reported last night that Roberts' body had been in a casket for a funeral at the Francis Funeral Home, on Whitby Avenue at 52nd Street, West Philadelphia.  Both funeral homes are under the same ownership, the station said.

Source: philly.com19 August 2009

How to Lighten up at a Funeral Home

Ahlgrim & Sons Ltd Funeral Parlour and Mini-Golf

That’s right folks, in the basement of a suburban funeral parlour lies a mysterious and awesomely fun mini golf parlour.  Along with video games, ping pong, shuffle board, billiards, and more are 9 holes of mini golf.  Surprisingly tough mini golf out in Palatine, Illinois.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  It’s all free.  Just call up Ahlgrim & Sons for a date and time your friends or group function can come play.  Make sure it’s a flexible time as if there’s a funeral then you can’t play.

Source: cruisingchicago.files.wordpress.com

Of course we went at 10am on a Sunday.  Who was there to greet us?  Roger Ahlgrim himself, the man who built the mini-golf course in the 60's.  His sons now run the funeral parlour but he still works there.

Source: cruisingchicago.wordpress.com 7 January 2008

For articles related to ageing, including feats that can be accomplished, and a non-spiritual look at what happens after death - funerals, jerky, popsicles, fertiliser, ashes, orbit or dust - click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index page for this Older and Under section.

Back Home Up Next