It's rare that we read an obituary that surprises us or makes us laugh. They are typically pretty staid. But the family of Delaware grandmother Johanna Scarpitti shocked everyone with the first line of her obit: "Ding dong, the witch is dead."
Your initial thought? This must have been one mean granny. Why else would they write something so harsh, right? Wrong. That line was actually a tribute to what they describe as an incredible lady. In fact, Scarpitti requested that the phrase be used.
Her daughter Lucy said that she liked The Wizard of Oz so much that she was buried in ruby slippers. People may not initially get the seemingly strange ode and likely thought it was in poor taste, but "that was something between us and there was nothing going to stop me," Lucy told a reporter.
We should applaud their willingness to carry out their mother's unusual wish despite the criticism they would receive. It's wonderful to see obituaries that speak to the deceased person's true personality rather than the solemn bit of information they usually include.
Others, too, have been so bold. Walter George Bruhl Jr., a Marine who served in Korea, wrote his own atypical obituary and it shocked everyone who read it. In a word, it was HILARIOUS. He touched on so much, including why he entered the military ("because of Hollywood propaganda") and why there would be no viewing at his funeral (his wife refused to "have him standing in the corner of the room with a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand so that he would appear natural to visitors").
Another laugh-out-loud obit? That of George Ferguson. His daughter wrote about her dad, the "small-time con-man" who liked a drink or two.
This could be a really wonderful trend. Yes, there will always be old-fashioned folks who think it is disrespectful, but if the deceased was a fun-loving, whimsical sort, this is a great way to celebrate their life.
What do you think of off-beat obituaries?