DEMOTTE, IN (WGN/CNN) - An Indiana woman who works at a funeral home recently lost her own father and she decided to pay tribute to him with a unique, light-hearted obituary.
Jean Lahm says she wrote it in the same spirit that permeated her father's life, one of humor and love. The obituary went viral and received praise and appreciation in more than a thousand comments after it was posted online.
"Terry Wayne Ward, age 71, of Demotte, IN, escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018," wrote in the obituary. "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."
You see, Terry Ward would have wanted it no other way.
"He met the love of his life, Cathy, by telling her he was a lineman. He didn't specify early on that he was a lineman for the phone company, not the NFL. Still, Cathy and Terry wed in the fall of 1969, perfectly between the summer of love and the winter of regret," the obituary reads.
Ward was a character, one of a kind, responsible, a provider for his family, his daughter said, but rarely serious, almost never.
Long, blonde permed hair and all, his daughter knew that surrounded by sadness was not the way Terry would want to be remembered.
"He enjoyed many, many things. Among those things were hunting, fishing, golfing, snorkeling, Abba, hiking, turkey run, chopping wood, shooting guns, Bed Bath and Beyond, starlight mints, cold beer, free beer," Lahm said in the obituary.
"Everyone says, 'When I pass away, I want people to celebrate my life.’ No one ever says, 'When I pass away, I want all my relatives to be miserable.' This is my way of honoring a man who held this philosophy very close to him," she said.
That philosophy and Lahm's unorthodox obituary seemed to resonate with people.
"Terry died knowing that the Blues Brothers was the best movie ever," Lahm wrote.
"I read many, many comments, probably hundreds of comments online from people who never knew him, and said the nicest things. Things like, 'I wish I would have known him,' and 'I want my obituary to be like this,' and, 'What a great way to memorialize someone.’ One comment was simply, 'Be like Terry,'" Lahm recalled.
Of the hundreds of comments, only a handful actually knew the one and only Ward.
Lahm's sense of humor during a dark and sad time caught the attention of people nationwide for all the right reasons.
"It enables you to move forward. In the midst of a lot of pain, you can still find laughter," she explained.
The back of Ward's prayer card even included one of his favorite movie quotes. It was from the 1980 comedy Airplane!
But what would Ward have thought of this humorously penned, quick-witted ode to dear old dad?
"Oh, oh, he's up there loving this," Lahm said. I can just picture him up there. He is in his favorite chair. He's just sitting back, roaring with laughter,"
The obituary ends with a tongue-in-cheek request for donations, asking readers give to their favorite bar or watering hole.
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