Woman’s Obit Blames Trump for Death, Paper Won’t Run It

Frances Irene Finley Williams and her husband, Bruce Williams (Courtesy of Cathy Duff)

An 87 year old’s obit said Trump ‘hastened’ her death.

A local news paper refused to run it; now they’re back pedaling fast.

Washington Post, Meagan Flynn – Frances Irene Finley Williams felt the same way about dress codes at funerals as she felt about politics: strongly.

So when she died just before Thanksgiving at the age of 87, her family thought they would make politics a part of her obituary too.

It was only natural, said her daughter, Cathy Duff. Williams and her 92-year-old husband, Bruce, were the kind of couple who woke up with the Louisville Courier-Journal and USA Today and went to bed switching channels between CNN and the local news.

Obit: “Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump administration.”

She was a bridge-playing, churchgoing, Elvis Presley- and Willie Nelson-loving political junkie who “did not take gladly to fools,” a “very, very spirited woman” who sometimes said that her frustration about President Trump was killing her — “contributing to her decline,” as Duff put it.

She didn’t seem to be joking, Duff said in an interview with The Washington Post.

So at the end of her mother’s obituary, just after the part about Williams’s passion for making family photo albums, Duff added this sentence: “Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump administration.”

“I just felt like, along with everything else that was in there, that was a vital part of her personality and something she expressed with me over the last few months — just like she expressed she felt strongly about a dress code for funerals,” Duffy told The Post. “So I felt it was important to put it in there. We never gave it any more thought than that.”

At least not until the Courier-Journal declined to publish it: They would have to remove the Trump quip, they were told, or their $1,684 obituary wouldn’t run at all.

Duff and her brother, Art Williams, were shocked. “We didn’t understand it,” Duff said.

Now, more than two weeks after Williams’s memorial services, the Courier-Journal and Gannett, the paper’s owner, are apologizing following backlash on social media, which circulated after Duff’s brother made their ordeal public earlier this month.

It was a “mistake” to refuse to publish the political sentence, Laurie Bolle, the director of sales for Gannett’s West Group, told the Courier-Journal in a column titled, “Obit blaming Trump for hastening woman’s death should have been published.” Read more.

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