The Grimmies: 2011 SPOW Awards
Larken Bradley, who has been writing obituaries for weekly newspapers in Marin County (located an hour north of San Francisco) for about a dozen years, is the recipient of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers (SPOW) Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011.
Kay Powell, last year's Lifetime honoree, presented the Lifetime Grimmy to Larken at the awards presentation lunch on May 13, 2011, at Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., during the 2011 SPOW Conference.
Other Grimmies for obituary writing in various categories were presented at the same event.
Maureen O'Donnell, obit writer for the Chicago Sun Times, was present to accept two Grimmies: One for Best Body of Work (Short-form), based on five obits that were published in 2010, and the second for her obit for Joseph Sterling, named Best Obituary (Short Form) about a Well-Known Regional Figure.
Also winning two Grimmies was Amy Rabideau Silvers of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Her obit for Lorrie Otto took Best Obituary (Long Form) about a Well-Known Regional Figure, while her story about Evelyn Fefer was honored as Best Obituary (Short Form) about an Average Joe.
Andrew Meacham of the St. Petersburg Times, who served as local host of the conference, received the Grimmy for Best Obituary (Long Form) about an Average Joe. His subject was Neal Alan Smith, a dishwasher who was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle home from work.
The remaining three Grimmies went to Canadian obit writers, all of whom write obits for the Globe and Mail, who were unable to attend the conference.
Philip Fine won the Grimmy for Best Body of Work in Obituary Writing (Long Form). Sandra Martin's obit for Jackie Burroughs earned her the Grimmy for Best Obit about an Internationally Known Figure. And Tom Hawthorn's obit for Gene Kiniski was judged Best Obituary Tribute.
An online just-for-fun People's Picks Poll also was conducted to encourage the public to read obituaries and vote for their favorites. Unlike the methods used by reality TV shows, their votes had no bearing on the outcome of the Grimmies. The People's Picks can be found on the Obituary Forum blog.
Congratulations to all the winners!