When a person dies, family members go to great lengths to fill their obituaries with the most important aspects of their lives. They go as far back as their memories will take them, dredging up every great thing their loved one has ever done, and in some cases great things they didn’t do.

Career success and various other accomplishments are highlighted, along with their passions, hobbies and details of a very rich family life.

What you might not expect to come across in an obituary is mention of their involvement in an online community. Well, I came across that very thing a few weeks ago, and I was stunned.

Do you remember a recent post where I discussed the death of a member of my community? He was one of the first 100 members, joining the day after we launched, on July 3, 2007…a date that is etched on his profile page.

The community meant a lot to this member and he was liked by many. His family knew this, and they honored his active participation and involvement in the community by mentioning it in his obituary not once, but twice. It was brought to my attention by another member, who had attended his funeral with several others who knew him from the blogs and live chats on the site.

This is something I won’t soon forget. I have a copy of it in my office. It is a true testament to the power of community. Communities can change lives and make a real difference whether we acknowledge it or not.

I am proud to have grown a community that could register high enough in a person’s life to be celebrated in his death.

Don’t underestimate the power of community.

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