• • •
Volunteers help give names to numbers
Another way in which those who died in state institutions are being honored (“Respect, at last, for lives locked away,” Oct. 20) is by volunteers at findagrave.com who create individual memorial pages online with at least the first and last names and date of death. These listings are picked up quickly by search engines and Ancestry.com so that family members can find them with a simple search.
I was trying to find the grave of the mother who was not buried near her family members. When I obtained her obituary at the Cottonwood County Historical Society, I found she had died at Willmar. Others there told me that when people from this county die in Willmar or St. Peter, usually they were patients in the institutions in those places. So I contacted the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, which sent me a list of patients buried at Oak Knoll. It also told me about the three-digit markers that were used instead of headstones.
As a dedicated graver, I was appalled that anyone could be treated like that. It made the cemetery seem like a filing cabinet. My anger moved me to create individual listings for the 194 burials in the Catholic section. A descendant of one of those folks later took the Protestant listings and has created the balance of the 864 listings.
Of all the thanks I have received for creating memorial pages, none have had the depth of feeling of the ones I have received for my pages at Oak Knoll.
The Rev. MARILLA J. WHITNEY, Windom, Minn.
• • •
WORKING AFTER 65
One thing to be willing, another to be wanted
Roger Feldman’s Oct. 20 commentary about working after age 65 is all well and good, but I fear he missed a crucial point: those older workers have to be wanted.
A few weeks ago, a report on Minnesota Public Radio told of a study comparing the prerecession workforce to the postrecession one. The current workforce contains 600,000 fewer women who are 55 and older. The researchers have concluded that a full third — and possibly more — of those 600,000 have simply given up and dropped out of the workforce because no one is interested in hiring them.
I am one of those women. After 30-plus years of varied and successful professional experience, I’ve been told I have too much experience, or that my experience commands too much money, or that I’m just not a good fit for the job. And that’s if I’m told anything at all. In our modern world of online applications and automated responses, who knows if anyone ever really looks at my résumé or considers my qualifications?
Feldman writes as though it’s a matter of choice whether older workers retire or continue to work. What world does he live in?
KATHY M. BARTHOLOW, Crystal
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.