In the words of Steven Hawking,“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”
And perhaps no one knows that better than Jean Lahm, a woman who penned a funny and touching obituary for her dad, Terry Wayne Ward, who passed away at the age of 71 on Jan. 23.
The sense of humor and personal details in the obit really seem to capture the essence of the late Indiana man, who served in the Vietnam War. In the few days since Ward’s death, the unique obituary has gone viral and captured the hearts of people who didn’t even know him.
“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,” the hilarious obituary begins.
The beautifully written tribute shares the important events of Ward’s life, and is also peppered with funny anecdotes that really give you a sense of how he lived and what his values were.
“He retired from AT&T (formerly Ameritech, formerly formerly Indiana Bell) after 39 years of begrudging service, where he accumulated roughly 3,000 rolls of black electrical tape during the course of his career (which he used for everything from open wounds to “Don’t use this button” covers),” it reads.
He was married to his wife, Kathy, for 48 years. Lahm humorously described her mom as “overly patient and accepting,” in a good-natured jab at her dad.
“He met the love of his life, Kathy, 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,” Lahm wrote. “Still, Kathy and Terry wed in the fall of 1969, perfectly between the Summer of Love and the Winter of Regret.”
Lahm shared that her late dad enjoyed ABBA, cold beer (and free beer), shooting guns and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Ward’s other favorite activities included giving his grandchildren popsicles and ice cream sandwiches, and watching “Phineas and Ferb”—”usually when [the grandkids] were actually there.”
However, he did not like “uppity” foods like hummus, so his family called it “bean dip”—and it turns out he actually loved it.
“He couldn’t give a damn about most material things, and automobiles were never to be purchased new,” Lahm wrote. “He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.”
Although this touching and heartfelt obituary has all the makings of something that would go viral, Lahm told the Chicago Tribune that she was surprised how many people have been touched by her tribute to her late father.
“I’ve been reading a lot of the comments from people saying ‘I wish I would have known him’ or ‘He seems like such a great guy,'” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I’m just so happy to be able to get his personality across. I know he’s up there laughing hysterically.”
The Legacy.com page created in Ward’s honor has been flooded with comments from strangers expressing their condolences and saying that they wish they had a chance to meet this interesting man.
“I … love that so many people are getting a hearty laugh—that’s how my dad lived his life: laughing,” Lahm wrote in an email to Simplemost.
And even if you didn’t know Ward, the family says “memorial donations in Terry’s name can be made to your favorite charity or your favorite watering hole, where you are instructed to tie a few on and tell a few stories of the great Terry Ward.”