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‘In lieu of flowers, vote for X’: When people make political requests in obituaries

Former First Lady Barbara Bush said she cancelled her subscription to the New York Times after reading an obituary asking people to do so. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A North Carolina man's obituary had one request of family and loved ones: not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Larry Upright, who died at 81, was a staunch Republican, and his family members decided to add the line, "The family respectfully asks that you do not vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016," to the end of his obituary.

"He was very passionate about politics and probably passed a little bit of that on, and so it was natural for me to think about that," Jill McLain, his daughter, told ABC News.

Families have asked mourners to ditch the flowers and instead take political action before. A look back at political obituaries from the past decade shows what sort of issues were top-of-mind for voters before they passed. It's a sort of alternate telling of the recent history American politics, a timeline of our politics that goes from Bush vs. Kerry to 2016 and includes the birth of the Tea Party and the contentious midterm elections in-between.

Here are some of our favorites:

Don't make the same mistake I did; vote against Harry Reid

Charlotte McCourt of Pahrump, Nev., died in 2010. Her obituary, published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, asked people to vote for a candidate other than Sen. Harry Reid (D) in Nevada's U.S. Senate race. Despite this, Reid won reelection against Republican Sharron Angle.

"We believe that mom would say she was mortified to have taken a large role in the election of Harry Reid to U.S. Congress," the obituary read. "Let the record show Charlotte was displeased with his work. Please, in lieu of flowers, vote for another more worthy candidate."

Cancel your New York Times subscription

Leonard Smith of Pine Island, Fla., died in 2013. His obituary, published in Greenwich Time, requested people cancel their subscription to the New York Times. Former First Lady Barbara Bush said during an interview with Fox News she heard about the man's request and took action ("Did you read about the man who died and his obituary ... said, 'Don't sent flowers, don't send donations to anything, cancel your New York Times subscription,' So I did," she said.)

Donate to John Kerry's presidential campaign

The obituary of William Frazer of Woodridge, Ill., who died in 2004, asked loved ones to donate money to charities or John Kerry's presidential campaign. "It was something we decided to do because it was so important to him," his daughter Angie told the Chicago Tribune. "He was just such a big Democrat." Kerry lost to George W. Bush that year.

Donate to the NRA and George W. Bush

Raymond Andrew "Terry" Hill died in Columbus, N.J., in 2003. His obituary, published in the Salt Lake Tribune, asked for contributions to be made either to the NRA or Bush, who would run for reelection the following year (his family offered other suggestions, however).

"Although it was suggested in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the NRA and George W. Bush, the family respectfully requests donations, his his name to the Terry Hill Scholarship Fund," the obituary read.

Vote for Democrats

The obituary of Grant Urry of Winchester, Mass., asked people to vote for Democrats after he died in 2006. That year, his wish came true. Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy was reelected and Deval Patrick won the gubernatorial race, and Democrats took both the House and Senate.

"Friends are asked to remember him by voting Democratic," the obituary, published in the Boston Globe, read.

Donate to Barack Obama

Lillian Krayton of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., died in 2008. Her New York Times obituary asked for donations to either the Obama campaign or other groups.

"If she were asked, Lillian would welcome contributions in her memory to the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Public Radio or Television, Brandeis Women, the Barack Obama campaign, or any charity of your choice," the obituary read.

Donate to the tea party candidates and vote Republican

Jim Fairbrother died in 2010, and his obituary, published in the Eureka Times-Standard in California, asked loved one to donate and vote for Republican candidates, specifically tea party ones.

"[W]e know he would be delighted if your acknowledgement of his life and death included a donation or vote for Republican, and preferably tea party, candidates in November," the obituary read.

Donate to the Democratic Party or ACLU

Jack Abramowitz of Forest Hills, N.Y., died in 2011. His obituary, published in the New York Times, asked for donations to organizations he supported in lieu of flowers.

""[T]he family asks that donations be made to one of three organizations Jack supported: the American Civil Liberties Union, Doctors Without Borders, or the Democratic Party," the obituary read.

Donate to anyone but Obama

Don Unsworth, a Georgia man, died in 2010 and asked loved ones to support anyone but Obama in 2012.

"In lieu of flowers the family respectfully asked that donations be sent to the American Cancer Society or to the campaign of whoever is running against President Barack Obama in 2012," the obituary read. That would have been Mitt Romney, who lost to Obama.

Others had similar wishes. The Wall Street Journal reported a number of obituaries had political requests in 2010, and all those who asked family and loved ones to oppose Obama had military service in common.