By George Hesselberg
In a lively collection of feature obituaries and related news stories, longtime newspaper reporter George Hesselberg celebrates life, sharing the most fascinating stories that came from decades of covering the obit and public safety beats.
In more than forty years at the Wisconsin State Journal, Hesselberg frequently found himself writing about fatal accidents, crime investigations, and the deaths of the wealthy, famous, or notorious. But he was most drawn to the curious, the unknown, and the unsung—the deaths that normally wouldn’t make much of a splash, if any mention at all, in the news columns of a daily paper.
Digging deeper, he uncovered the extraordinary among the ordinary, memorializing the lives of a sword designer, a radio villain, a pioneering female detective, a homeless woman who spoke fluent French, a beloved classroom tarantula, and many more. Their stories are alternately amusing, sad, surprising, and profound. Together they speak to a shared human experience and inspire us to see the people around us with new eyes, valuing the lives while they are still being lived.
GEORGE HESSELBERG was a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal for forty-three years. He covered every beat, wrote hundreds of news obituaries of the famous and the not-so-famous, and was a columnist for eighteen years.