Renowned authors Shelby Foote (left in above photo) and Walker Percy (right) met when they were 10 years old and remained best friends until Percy’s death in 1990 (Foote passed away in 2005). Writers in the best Southern tradition, the two men enjoyed distinguished careers — Percy as a National-Book-Award-winning novelist and Foote as a historian and sometime novelist. Six months after Percy’s death, Foote delivered a moving tribute to his friend at a memorial service. Here is a fragment:

One secret of the longevity of our friendship was that each of us knew what would make the other angry, and we were careful not to venture into such areas—except on purpose, which would open the matter to drumfire argument and laughter, time and time again, all down the years.”

I read Foote’s eulogy in a wonderful book — just out in paperback — Great American Catholic Eulogies by Carol DeChant. While eulogies most often celebrate the departed, they are also crafted for people still very much alive. (Eulogia = “good words” in Greek!)

Great American Catholic Eulogies is available at