Yvonne Brill, a rocket scientist died on saturday evening. Her many scientific successes did not trump her beef stroganoff, at least in the eyes of the writer or her obituary, Douglas Martin.
After learning of the many different do's and don'ts of obituary writing I felt this story was a must. Yvonne Brill, a brilliant rocket scientist who created a propulsion system that made sure satellites stayed in orbit, was made out to seem like just a housewife.
The introduction to Brill's obituary began like this, "She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. "The world's best mom," her son Matthew said.
Many people chastised this horrible beginning, was this beginning supposed to be anecdotal or what? What were Douglas Martin and his editor thinking about when they allowed this to be published? One would think her propulsion system would at least make the first paragraph.
The author has since changed the introduction but the original was organized in a way that put her as a woman and a mother first. The second paragraph then discusses her achievements as a rocket scientist, but then turns back to the sexism when the author mentions she preferred to be called "Mrs."
In the last paragraphs the author, thankfully, admires her many life achievements and awards.
** The keyword original brings you to a blog, if you scroll down to the bottom of the blog page, you can find the original obit there.