Leroy Irwin, a 92-year-old farmer living in Allegan, Michigan, decided to have the dates of his life carved on his gravestone before he died, because (having no children) he wasn't sure who would pay to do it after he died.
He carved the dates 1856-1950, but it turned out he was a little too optimistic. He died in November 1949, seven weeks shy of reaching 1950.
The Escanaba Daily Press - Apr 25, 1949
The Escanaba Daily Press - Nov 14, 1949
Update: To answer Patty's question (in the comments), the incorrect date wasn't changed. Leroy Irwin's grave (with the wrong date) remains standing in Hudson Corners Cemetery.
1953: Diane Rinkes, 15-year-old cheerleader for East Lansing high school in Michigan, gave it her all for her team, but it wasn't enough. Her team lost, and then she dropped dead.
When I first read this story, I assumed that there must have been some kind of underlying medical condition that caused her death. 15-year-old girls don't simply drop dead for no reason.
But in a follow-up report it says that the Coroner diagnosed the cause of death as "acute shock and acute circulatory collapse... brought on by overexertion." He elaborated that Rinkes worked herself up into such a "tremendous pitch of excitement during the football game" that it caused her death.
So she died of over-excitement. You have to wonder if she would have lived if her team had won.
The Washington DC mortuary of W.W. Chambers caused a scandal when it issued a calendar for 1948 featuring scantily-clad models to advertise its embalming business. Tagline: Beautiful Bodies by Chambers.
Time magazine (Jan 12, 1948) criticized it as "frank vulgarity." Although that didn't stop them from reprinting a page of the calendar (below) for the benefit of its readers.
Having recently got religion, and consequently filled with the fire of faith, young Albert Strate decided that "God would not let him die." So he took strychnine to test the theory. The coroner pronounced it suicide. Give Albert a Darwin Award.