Journalist’s Book of Obits Celebrates Life

Obituaries are more than just reports of the dead: They are the written celebrations of their lives. Few know this better than Wisconsin State Journal reporter George Hesselberg, who, for more than 40 years, wrote about the unusual stories he uncovered while reporting on fatal accidents, crimes and death investigations.

The Wisconsin Historical Society Press ( is publishing Dead Lines: Slices of Life from the Obit Beat – a lively, emotional collection of some of the more memorable, amusing, sad, surprising and profound features Hesselberg wrote to chronicle the lives of those who had died: a sword designer, radio villain, pioneering female detective and beloved classroom tarantula, among others.

These stories tell of shared human experiences and inspire readers to see those around them with fresh eyes and to value those lives while they’re still being lived.