FamilySearch has a ton of records and many of them aren’t digitized, but only available on microfilm. Some are digitized, but not indexed. It was in the digitized but not indexed section where I discovered records of the Coffman Funeral Home of Marshall, Arkansas. After browsing through pages and pages of images, I found the funeral record for my grandpa Daniel Graham.
The image is pretty clear so I won’t transcribe every detail this time. However, there are a couple of things worth pointing out.
Name of Deceased: Daniel Paig Graham
Grandpa’s middle name is misspelled here. It was rightfully spelled Page, per his delayed birth certificate (which his father was the informant) and grandma’s family bible.
I was 12 years old when grandpa died, and this was the first funeral I ever attended. I have a few memories tied to this event. One of them was a discussion over how to spell grandpa’s middle name. For some reason, nobody seemed sure what the correct spelling was, even though grandma had recorded it as “Page” in her bible. I remember at one point sitting in grandma’s kitchen at the little round table when my mom asked me how I would spell it! I suggested “Paige” because I had read a book with a character who used that spelling. When grandpa’s obituary was published in the Mountain Wave newspaper a few days later, it was spelled “Paig” and I complained that they forgot the E on the end. Now, I complain that every genealogist spells his name wrong because of that obituary.
Grandpa and grandma lived right across the street from the Coffman Funeral Home in Marshall. Everyone gathered at their house, then we all walked across the street for the viewing. This was the first time I ever saw dad cry.
This was the only time that I’d met grandpa’s sister, and my grand aunt, Emma Mainord. I remember her sitting in a wooden chair on the sidewalk in the front yard as all the various kids ran around her. At some point, we learned she was grandpa’s sister and suddenly we were fascinated by her. She told us many family stories, none of which I can now recall. She resided in Oklahoma, so we asked dad if we could go there to visit her. Dad said no. Repeatedly. At the time, I was left with the impression that dad didn’t like Aunt Emma, but now I realize the difficulty of those days for him.
Place of Death: Baptist Med. Center (L. R. Ar.)
Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. I believe he stayed for a bit at a hospital in Harrison, Arkansas previously — I recall visiting him at two different hospitals.
Religion of Deceased: Baptist
Per his obituary, grandpa was a member of the Rambo Free Will Baptist Church, which was up on South Mountain.
Date of Funeral: March 19, 1983 (Sat.) 2 p.m.
Resided in the State: USA life
On this line, it was supposed to be recorded how long grandpa had resided in the state or U.S. or City or County, and “USA life” was entered. It’s true he was a lifelong resident of the USA, but not of Arkansas. Starting around 1940, grandpa moved around to find work and spent most of that decade and the next in Missouri in the various little towns around Sikeston. By 1959, he was residing in Hammond, Indiana. By the mid-60s, he was in Harvey, Illinois. He stayed in Harvey until about 1977 when he returned to Arkansas and bought the little house across the street from the funeral home.
Cause of Death: Carcinoma of bile duct.
Carcinoma is a general name for any cancer in the epithelial tissue that lines our organs, and cancer of the bile duct is specifically called cholangiocarcinoma.
The liver makes a fluid called bile that breaks down fats during digestion. Bile passes through a series of ducts and is stored in the gallbladder until it is released into the small intestine to aid in digesting food.
According to the National Cancer Institute, there are no routine screening tests to check for bile duct cancer before signs and symptoms occur. It is usually found after it has spread and can rarely be completely removed by surgery.
It was often said by the family that grandpa would sneak to the shed in the backyard in order to smoke cigarettes in secret, and it was this habit that was blamed for his cancer. I’m certainly no doctor, but there seems to be an incongruity between smoking cigarettes and bile duct cancer. Indeed, the National Cancer Institute does not include smoking among the risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma.
Cemetery: Mainord Cemetery
One of the other names for the cemetery presently called Rambo.
The most direct route from Marshall to the cemetery took us right passed the home of Charles and Ruby Watts, my grand aunt and uncle. I remember changing into our “funeral clothes” there, but I’m not certain if we stayed with them for the duration of this solemn visit.
Citing official inflation data: $2,285.90 in 1983 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $6,811.98 today, an increase of $4,526.08 over 39 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.84% per year between 1983 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 198.00%.
FamilySearch.org, Coffman Funeral Home (Marshall, Arkansas), 1937-1988, Funeral home records Bk 18-19 25 Mar 1980-18 Feb 1984, film 8769196, frame 00288. Record for Daniel Paig Graham.
Personal recollections of Byron W Graham.
“What Is Bile Duct Cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma)?” National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/types/liver/bile-duct-cancer.
“$2,285.90 in 1983 → 2022 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 23 Oct. 2022, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1983?amount=2285.90.