5 Of The Most Unforgettable Obits We’ve Ever Read

September 7, 2015
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Article originally appeared on Huffington Post

The passing of a loved one is a dark, grief-filled time for friends and families. But that doesn’t mean the recently departed can’t be remembered in a manner that was as fun-loving and lighthearted as they were.

Recently, we’ve seen obits transformed from the formal, stodgy columns found in the back of the newspaper to non-traditional narratives, celebrating lives well-lived, often published online. Some people have even taken to writing their own obits in advance, to make sure they have control over how they’re remembered. Here are some of the most memorable obits we’ve seen in recent years.

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1. The Guy Who Hated The Kardashians

Raymond “Big Al” Brownley died at 82 last year and the Pittsburgh native’s obituary quickly went viral. Al sounded like the type of no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is grandpa we all would love to have.

It spoke of his “trademark stubbornness” and was crystal clear on the things Al loved and hated most. He liked milk shakes, football and jelly beans. He had an affinity for four-letter words and was known for his wisdom.

“Life is hard; but it’s harder if you’re stupid” and “Don’t be a jackass,” were among his oft-used morsels of wisdom.

Oh, and if you weren’t a fan of Al already, he hated the Kardashians — and he couldn’t tell them apart. Read the full obit here.

Rest in peace, Al.

2. The Grandma With All The Life Hacks 

Mary A. “Pink” Mullaney died at 85 in 2013 and her family wrote her obituary in the form of a list of household tips and tricks. Though we don’t get a great narrative about Grandma Pink’s life, her loving personality is clear through the obit’s humorous tidbits and examples of her kindness. Don’t throw out old pantyhose — it can be used for child-proofing cabinets and hanging ornaments. Take a chicken sandwich to mass and share with a homeless friend or let them sit in your car while you attend church, so they can stay warm. Offer a cold drink to the mail man or woman on a hot summer day. What a way to be remembered. Read the full obit here. 

3. The Humor Writer

Jane Catherine Lotter died in 2013 at the young age of 60 from endometrial cancer. But the humor writer, known for her column “Jane Explains,” went out on a truly positive note. “One of the few advantages of dying from Grade 3, Stage IIIC endometrial cancer, recurrent and metastasized to the liver and abdomen, is that you have time to write your own obituary,” Lotter wrote. “I was given the gift of life and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky woman, who led a lucky existence, and for this I am grateful.”

She offered thanks to everyone who provided support and reminded her loved ones not to mourn her loss. She said, “When the cancer recurred last year and was terminal, I decided to be joyful about having had a full life, rather than sad about having to die… Beautiful day, happy to have been here.”

Grab the tissues and read the full obit here. 

4. The Prankster

Norma Brewer knew she wanted to have the last laugh — long before she died. The Connecticut woman died at 83 earlier this year and had already pre-written her obit over a decade ago. You’d never know the true cause of her death because the fun-loving prankster claimed she had died in pursuit of Mount Kilimanjaro. “She never realized her life goal of reaching the summit, but made it to the base camp… There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia, after Mia ate Mrs. Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks.”

It might seem odd to some, but that was Norma, her family said. “People who don’t know my mother are bemused,” Norma’s daughter, Donna Brewer said. “People who know my mother are laughing and saying, `Yeah, that’s Norma.’ ”

Read the full obit here. 

5. The Wicked Witch

Johanna Scarpitti died last year at age 70 and her obit raised a few eyebrows. “Ding dong the witch is dead, but the memory of our mother lives on,” the obit reads. One of her daughters, who helped pen the obit, said that her mother wished the obit to include a tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.”

Scarpitti’s husband said he had nothing to do with the obit and said his daughters won’t be writing his. Hmmm…

Read the full obit here. 

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