Online condolences?

I was reading the obituaries today (we’ve had a particularly tragic week here in Cleveland) and noticed something I’ve never seen before: online condolences. At the bottom of the death notice there was a line stating that “online condolences may be left at…” with a web address for the funeral home. Talk about getting out of sending a card…

Since Cleveland is always a bit behind the times, I expect to hear that this is common in other parts of the country/world. I didn’t go to the site to see if others can read the messages left there, or if it is private for the family…I guess in the interest of science I should have researched this better. Have any Dopers left their condolences online for anyone?

I don’t think I’ve left condolences, but I can confirm that it’s really common here in Columbus.


When my father died last year, his obituary was available on the local paper’s web site, complete with a “leave your condolences here” section. Among the comments were several left by old coworkers (he worked at the same office for 30-odd years) now living thousands of miles away. I have no idea how they heard the news, but it was quite interesting, and a bit touching, to read all of the comments.

They’re doing it in Arkansas. I left condolences for a former co-worker, when I didn’t know who to send a sympathy card to.

The online condolences have been around for some time; when my SO’s brother passed away back in 1999, there was an online condolence book for him, and my Mom left a condolence message there. I left one recently where the funeral home was supposed to write it up for the family, so there are different ways of leaving them online.

When Ben Hendrickson, who played Hal Munson on ATWT, passed last summer (suicide, unfortunately), many fans left condolence messages online; there were 70 some pages when I left one there.

Sometimes, you don’t know who to contact, especially if it is someone that you’ve been out of touch with for many years. The online condolences provide a way of expressing your grief as well as letting the family know how many lives were touched. I hope that makes sense.

Yes, when my aunt died recently in Virginia I was unable to attend the funeral. I was able to ‘sign’ her on-line guest book, which hopefully helped my cousins. I think it’s a grand idea.

ETA: I also left condolences on the ASCE site for the Virginia Tech engineering students who were killed. It was nice to be able to do that.

The Chicago Tribune and the Suburban Herald newspapers have had this for some time. I used it a couple times, but just for casual acquaintances. Also, you can see if other people used it and contact them (I sent a note to a friend who was suffering a mutual loss but he was much closer to the deceased).

I see nothing wrong with it if the relationship is far-removed. But for closer friends and relatives, there’s no substitute for a real card.

The Star Tribune here has the guestbook and it’s pretty neat. Mom really enjoyed reading what people wrote for my Dad when he died. In the flurry of activity at the wake and at the funeral way too many faces passed us all, giving condolences, but very little registered. Being able to go through them online (and they’re there for a year) is nice because we can spend more time thinking back, yanno?

Been popular here in various Ontario newspapers for years.

This isn’t new in Cleveland (ok maybe in the PD but not other papers in NE Ohio). I saw it at least 2 years ago.

I think also that the “online condolences” part of the obituary might require an extra fee. Don’t quote me on that tho.