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Top 10 Guest Books of 2018

In 2018, we lost musical icons and political mavericks, but this year, the extraordinary lives of several ordinary people struck the biggest chord, generating hundreds, even thousands, of condolences. Read some of these and other touching messages from the most-signed Guest Books of 2018:

Aretha Franklin

(Photo courtesy of Winnfield Funeral Home- Alexandria)

Aretha Franklin, universally acclaimed as the “Queen of Soul” and one of America’s greatest singers in any style, died on August 16, at the age of 76.

The Queen of Soul your voice will never leave us. You have brought so much happiness and joy to millions. May you sing in God’s presence forever.

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Terry Ward

(Photo courtesy of Geisen Funeral, Cremation & Reception Centre)

It’s not everyone who leaves behind enough Miracle Whip to see their family through a zombie apocalypse. Terry Ward, whose rollicking obituary went viral this year, achieved that distinction and so much more before he passed on January 23. He was 71.

Terry, we would have been friends if we had to ever met. From one vet to another, Welcome Home, brother. I love the touching obituary your family made for you. May whatever comes next bring you and your family happiness.

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President George H. W. Bush

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush died on November 30 at the age of 94. As the 41st president, he led the country through the Gulf War and signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. He joined his beloved wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, who died on April 17.

I stand amazed at what this great man accomplished. I muse as to how is it possible for such a seemingly humble person to have possessed such courage, humility, intelligence, ambition and a general love for our great country.

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Richard Harrison Jr.

(Getty Images / FilmMagic / Gabe Ginsberg)

Richard Harrison, known as “The Old Man” on the popular reality TV series “Pawn Stars,” died on June 25 at the age of 77.

A character for sure in his older years and one can only imagine him as a young man! We are going to miss him greatly and remember him much.

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Charles Krauthammer

(Getty Images / Washington Post / Ray Lustig)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and occasionally dissented from the conservative movement died on June 21. He was 68.

A fixture in our household during special report. Someone I respected, appreciated, and wished I could know personally. A great intellect, a sound voice in a sea of chatter, an anchor to ideas rather than being tossed about with the daily waves of political drama. A great soul. I miss his voice and his presence.

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Burt Reynolds

(Getty/Art Zelin)

Burt Reynolds was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood during the 1970s and 1980s. The magnetic actor died on September 6 at the age of 82.

We will miss that devilishly handsome grin, that happy twinkle and most of all your contented and outrageous laugh. Going to the movies will never be as much fun anymore. Thank you for good times.

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Barbara Bush

(Wikimedia Commons/White House) Barbara Bush, the former first lady of the United States, died April 17 at the age of 92. The beloved matriarch of the Bush family inspired millions with her warmth, iron will, and strong determination to help her family succeed. Many wondered how her husband of 73 years, George H. W. Bush, would manage in her absence: he passed soon after, on November 30.

Mrs. Bush was a beautiful woman and a beautiful, down to earth person. She was an inspiration to all of us, to get our priorities right and live a life of service in support of our beliefs! My condolences to her family and my wish that your fond, and I’m sure, funny memories of her, keep her alive in your hearts.

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John McCain

(Photo courtesy of A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel)

John McCain, the “maverick” Republican who survived years of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to become one of the most influential U.S. senators of his time, died August 25 after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 81.

Thanks for your service, when defending the freedom for our nation. Thanks for your steadfastness and faithfulness standing on what you felt was right, even when it crossed party lines. You gave so much of yourself so other could have more and I am sure you are up in Glory standing by the father still interceding on our behalf.

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Madelyn Ellen Linsenmeir

Madelyn Linsenmeir died on October 7 at the age of 30. Her painfully-honest obituary sparked a nationwide conversation about the opioid epidemic in America. Hundreds of strangers found inspiration in her story, leaving words of encouragement for her family throughout her Guest Book.

To the friends and family members of Madelyn, I am so sorry for your loss. This obituary was beautifully written. It has the power to change lives and maybe that is Madelyn’s legacy? I hope people around the world find the hope and the help they need whether or not they have the disease or they love someone who is suffering from it.

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Pilar Cuenta Ayson

Pilar Cuenta Ayson lived a long life, dying on April 19 at 94. For the strangers who happen upon her Guest Book – filled by her family with hundreds of photos of their beloved mother and grandmother at every stage of her full, rich life – it’s a fascinating and detailed portrait of how legacies are built, one memory at a time.

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