AUBURN — Obituaries typically follow a tried-and-true pattern that provides the name of someone who died and something about the life they led and family ties.

Kathryn Begg Submitted photo

Kathryn Begg, 72, tossed tradition aside for one that ran in Wednesday’s Sun Journal.

Begg’s six-paragraph obituary informed readers that she died Saturday, May 27, “which was the date and time of her own choosing, due to her terminal illness with ALS.”

“Others are not so fortunate; ask, advocate, demand for your right to die with dignity. Do not let others allow you to suffer needlessly,” the obituary continued. “Death is a gateway to who knows where … I expect I am having a fabulous adventure!”

Maine has had a law since 2019 that allows terminally ill people to end their lives with prescribed medication. ALS is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord” and is best known for killing New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig in 1941.

In a social media post, Maine Death With Dignity, a nonprofit, called Begg’s last words, “Probably one of the most powerful obituaries I’ve read in a long time. RIP, Kathryn.”


What it doesn’t have is any information about her life, family or friends.

A dip into the newspaper’s archives shows, though, that she once sold real estate, had an interest in art, flirted with running for City Council in Auburn and wrote a handful of strongly worded letters to the editor over the years taking issue with former President Donald Trump and conservative politics.

Neighbors who spoke to a reporter Wednesday said they didn’t know her. They said she never left her home at 15 Drummond St., the same house where patent medicine producer Dr. J.F. True lived for decades.

A reporter talked with her in 2018 about her house while she swept debris from the end of her driveway. She knew nothing about the True connection. She bought the house in 2003.

Neighbors said city firefighters would sometimes stop to check on her and perhaps provide some help. Two said they saw firefighters bringing her food on occasion in recent years.

Fire Chief Robert Chase said records show the department checked on her at least five times this year and had done so a few times a year for several years. He said they were probably assisting her but the records don’t provide any details.


There was no sign of anyone at her home Wednesday.

In her obituary, Begg said she had “decided to have no funeral” because “I have no religious affiliations or beliefs and I have no desire for any rituals.”

“But I am open to the possibility of returning to this planet in another form,” Begg wrote. “I still have so much to learn.”

She concluded her obituary with a quote that appears to be her own: “The cage is open, now all I have to do is run….”

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