Wordsmith Associates is a full-service communication consulting firm. Within that broad spectrum of activity, our specialty is in helping clients create a variety of legacy documents – written works that allow an individual’s thoughts, actions, feelings, and values to survive generations into the future.
We think of legacy documents broadly to include Legacy Letters (and ethical wills), memoirs, autobiographies, family histories, personal tributes, poem collections, photo compilations, posthumous writings, ethical wills, eulogies, and any other reflective, later-in-life document written to memorialize aspects of the author’s accumulated wisdom, experience, and perspective for the benefit of others.
The following client stories reveal an interesting variety of life contexts that people have chosen to feature in their legacy documents They also show the range of talent sets that Wordsmith Associates has brought to bear in producing final deliverables. Reviewing these client stories should also stimulate your creative thinking on ways to craft and position the story that you have to tell.
Click through the client stories below to read about specific legacy documents. (Note: You also have the option in each of these cases to see the finished publication, or portions thereof, directly on your screen in “netbook” format.)
A Tribute to Bobbie – Family of Roberta Davis
When Bobbie Davis died from complications of diabetes, Bobbie’s family gathered at her funeral service to pay their last respects, and numerous family members had important things to say in eulogies they prepared. Together, the vignettes they shared created a beautiful mosaic profiling a woman of compassion and good humor who loved life gratefully, lived life honestly, and created a warm home environment that fostered a strong, closely knit family.
On the Earthly Way – Joseph Morris
Joseph Morris, a master carpenter and overseer in North Wales who also served as an ordained Independent minister, sat down on his 70th birthday in May 1876 to recount his life. He felt that “it would be beneficial for me to record my life on earth, before I leave. Maybe it would please my relatives, especially my dear children, to have something to remember about me, after I have traveled this earthly world.”
My Life: An American’s Journey – Margaret Jeanine Condit Hastings
When she was in her mid-70s, Margaret Jeanine Condit Hastings did an amazing job of writing the story of her life and, when she presented “My Life” to her children in thick 3-ring binders, she thought the work was done. Her son Steve, however, had other ideas. Steve envisioned the notebook as more like a bound book that would be easy to read and that would be sturdy enough to last well into the future.
There Are No Alligators in Heaven! – Jennifer Hale with her parents Donna and Evan Michael Codell
Jennifer Hale defied the odds. When she was born with cystic fibrosis (CF) in 1972, the average life expectancy of individuals with CF was 15 years. But Jennifer lived to see her 43rd birthday before she passed away in December 2015 (while waiting for a lung transplant). After she died, Jennifer’s parents – Donna and Evan Michael Codell – decided to tell the story of Jennifer’s life so that people could meet Jennifer and come to appreciate the very special qualities she embodied.
Tomorrow Comes – Donna Mebane
In July 2011, Emma Mebane, age 19, died in her sleep from no known cause. She was home on summer break after her freshman year in college and spent the evening having pizza with her brother and dad and facetiming with her sister and mom in England. In the morning, Emma’s living spark had vanished. But Emma’s mother, Donna, could not accept that she was gone, and she began to imagine a world in which Emma could continue “to laugh, love and, yes, live, in a place that wouldn’t scare her, change her, or overwhelm her.” Over the next months, Donna created this world, that Emma came to call AFTER, in an award-winning book called Tomorrow Comes.
Update 21 – Beth Bello
In July 2007, after Beth Bello discovered that she had Stage 4 breast cancer, she kept her circle of family & friends (her “Prayer Warriors”) informed with periodic updates. The updates were sequentially numbered and spanned almost two years. By the time it came for Beth to send “Update 21,” her decline had been precipitous, and her sad earthly conclusion was foreshadowed in the symptoms that Beth presented at that time. On April 22, 2009, Beth slipped into a deep sleep and passed away the next day, quietly and at peace.
A Book Abot Chaps – Emma Mebane
At the viewing in the funeral home for Emma, a radiant young woman who died in her sleep at the age of 19 in July 2011, her family put out a number of things that visitors could look at while they waited in line to pay their respects. One of those items was a “book” that Emma wrote in first grade. It was called A Book Abot Chaps (phonetic for “A Book About Shapes”). It looked every bit the product of a first grader, with many endearing, age-related mistakes and, when people picked it up, they loved it. Based on this reaction, the family decided to publish Emma’s A Book Abot Chaps as a tribute to her life. They felt that Emma becoming a published Amazon author would be an honor to her.