I am a former economist, though I have a strong interest in history and some interest in genealogy. Obits are fascinating. They are essentially mini-biographies. One can learn so much about human nature and virtually every aspect of human endeavor. It's all here somewhere at findagrave.com... The databases contain the facts and the recollections regarding millions who have passed on. Records on the famous are easy to find, while the histories of ordinary people take a little more effort to uncover. Somehow though, just about everyone seems to end up here at findagrave.com.
Sometimes, I tell people I follow the site and often their first reaction is one of bizarre disbelief, as though I'd announced myself an avid highway rubbernecker seeking out carnage on the Eisenhower Interstate System. However, after a few minutes of my pitch, my stated regard for history and reverence for lives now past and that stuff, some seem to think that I'm not deranged. A number even understand.
Most funeral eulogies follow a pattern: someone close to the deceased talks perhaps for 20 minutes or so regarding the essence of the deceased, with any negative aspects generally suppressed. Some rock star said that "death gives us wings, makes angels of us all." The lexicographer and wit, Dr. Samuel Johnson, wrote that "in lapidary inscriptions, one is not under oath." Hence, any given epitaph--if there is any, and there rarely is in the current era--are not guaranteed to be accurate...
In 100 years, or at most 150, no one will perhaps have ever known that I--or, perhaps, you the reader, as well--had ever existed. Even those most lauded today, will almost surely only retain a whisper of remembrance of their existence in a millennium or two. And over geologic-time, of course, records of homo sapiens sapiens and all their accomplishments will disintegrate and fall away.
Personally, I feel that an unwritten and unspoken benediction from a higher power may hang over the cyber-entombed listed in findagrave.com. At least, that is my belief/hope... And that is part of the reason I follow the site: I feel better about myself for having taken a little time to read about someone who has passed, and in a way remember them in an unconscious prayer.
I am a graduate of Harvard and Fordham Universities. I'm in my mid fifties.