Posted by: Jack Henry | February 13, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Humorous Epigraphs

Good day, fine people!

After Friday’s email fiasco, I know a lot of people here were upset with me. Today, I have some humorous epitaphs (phrases or statements written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone) for you, from a Richard Lederer article. I don’t think anyone was mad enough to put me six feet under, but if you were, I’d hope you’d come up with something like these for my last words.

Although you may find the humor a bit grave and the plots too deep, I am pleased to unveil some of the English-speaking world’s funniest epitaphs.

Let’s start our expedition with epitaphs that demonstrate how some folk take their jobs with them to the grave.

Epitaph on a dentist:

Stranger: Approach this spot with gravity.
John Brown is filling his last cavity.

Epitaph on a lawyer:

Goembel, John E.
“The defense rests.”

Epitaph on an auctioneer:

Born 1828

My favorite in this category is an epitaph on a waiter:

By and by,
God caught his eye.

Some epitaphs show that punning can be a grave experience.

Epitaph on a drunkard:

He had his beer
From year to year,
And then his bier had him.

About a woman who died from consumption:

It was a cough that carried her off.
It was a coffin they carried her off in.

On the stone of a church organist named Meredith:

Here lies one blown out of life
Who lived a merry life,
And died a merry death.

In an English burial ground:

Here under the sod and under the trees
Is buried the body of Solomon Pease.
But in this hole lies only his pod.
His soul is shelled out and gone to God.

In an Irish burial ground:

Here lies Bridget O’Callaghan
Postmistress and Spinster
Returned – Unopened

Epitaph on an atheist:

All dressed up and no place to go.

On the gravestone of one Owen Moore:

Gone away, owin’ more than he could pay.

On the headstone of Anglo-French writer Hilaire Belloc:

When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
“His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.”

Epitaph written by American author Dorothy Parker:

Excuse my dust.

Boot hill cemeteries throughout the American West are dotted with wry messages on their tombstones:

Here lies Lester Moore:
Four slugs from a forty-four.
No Les. No More.

Here lays Butch.
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.

Here lies a man named Zeke,
Second-fastest draw in Cripple Creek.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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