Obits We Love: Know Your Loved One

Posted by Gayle Bennett

If you are writing an obituary for a someone, you probably know that person pretty well. You know if he or she would like you to play it straight, add some bits of levity, or go for laugh-out-loud funny the whole way through.

When Jean Lahm’s father, Terry Ward, died earlier this year, she knew that he would appreciate an obituary that was as irreverent and hilarious as he was throughout his life.

“Terry Wayne Ward, age 71, of DeMotte, IN, escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse,” Lahm begins her father’s obituary.

It goes on to note that he is survived by his wife, “Kathy, who was the love of his life (a fact she gladly accepted sympathy for during their 48 years of marriage),” that he “despised ‘uppity foods’ like hummus, which his family lovingly called ‘bean dip’ for his benefit, which he loved consequently,” and that he “never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.”

This obituary went so viral that the Washington Post wrote an article about it.

The article notes that one of Ward’s other daughters died three years before him. When Lahm, who handles community relations for Geisen Funeral Homes in Indiana, wrote her sister’s obituary, she decided to inject some humor into it. Lahm knew that he dad had really appreciated that.

“So when it came time to write her father’s obituary, Lahm said, she told herself: ‘Okay, we’re going mostly funny,’” writes Marwa Eltagouri in the Washington Post article.

The obituary has garnered more than 1,400 Guest Book comments on Legacy.com, most from people who never knew Ward and virally found this unique obituary.

“Sounded like an amazing man and grandfather,” wrote one recent commenter. “This obituary made my day. I wish everyone had a great sense of humor like this guy. R.I.P Terry.”

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Gayle is a DC-based writer and editor who has covered topics ranging from education to real estate. We welcome any questions or comments! Please email them to help@modernmemorials.com. 
By Gayle Bennett

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