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News & Politics News & Politics

What do you make of this?

Posted by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:51 AM
  • 14 Replies

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Anyone expecting a sweet remembrance of the life and times of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick was in for a surprise if they opened the obituary pages this week in the local newspaper.

"On behalf of her children who she abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty and shame that she delivered on her children," the scathing obituary begins.

Now circling the globe on the Internet, the obit was written by Johnson-Reddick's adult children, whose horror stories prompted Nevada to become one of the first states to allow children to sever parental ties back in the 1980s.

Johnson-Reddick died at a Reno nursing home Aug. 30 at the age of 79, according to her daughter,Katherine Reddick, 58, now a psychology consultant for a school district outside Austin, Texas.

Katherine Reddick said she decided to share the story of their painful physical and mental abuse after consulting with her brother, Patrick Reddick, 58, who lives in Minden south of Carson City. They said they grew up with four siblings in a Carson City orphanage after they were removed from their mother's home and had been estranged from her for more than 30 years.

"Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit," the obit said. "Our greatest wish now is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America."

Six of Johnson-Reddick's eight children were admitted to the Nevada Children's Home from 1963 to 1964 after they endured regular beatings, sometimes with a metal-tipped belt, and other abuse at the hands of their mother, Patrick Reddick said. He said he's had phone calls from "all over the world" about the obituary.

"Everything in there was completely true," he told The Associated Press on Thursday, describing her as a "wicked, wicked witch."

He said they wanted to "shame her a little bit" but that the "main purpose for putting it in there was to bring awareness to child abuse ... shame child abuse overall."

"People doing that right now, they can read that obit and think," said Patrick Reddick, who last saw his mother more than three decades ago.

"I'm a survivor," he said. "I count my blessings every day. Especially for my wife."

Reddick and his sister, now 57, testified before the 1987 Legislature on bills to make courts give equal consideration to the best interest of a child when terminating parental rights.

Former state Sen. Sue Wagner, who authored the legislation that ultimately was signed into law, remembers meeting with them at the time. She told KOLO-TV in Reno that it was one of the reasons Nevada became one of few states to address the issue at the time.

"I'm very happy that they now are free of their mother," Wagner said.

The obituary was printed in Tuesday's editions of the Reno Gazette-Journal and appeared on RGJ.com after it was submitted through a self-service online portal.

John Maher, president and publisher of the newspaper, said in a "note to readers" that the paper had "removed the online listing of this obituary as we continue our review of the circumstances surrounding its placement."

Little else is known about the woman. The Reno newspaper reported that she lived in a mobile home with 15 cats up until she was hospitalized in May for treatment of bladder cancer.

by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:51 AM
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Replies (1-10):
grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM

 I think it was tacky, and made her family look small.  I'm sure all of the family's friends, neighbors, etc. knew about her.  Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't have put her obituary in the paper at all.

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Mixed feelings.

But I did have this thought -- right now, there are many instances of parents publicly shaming their (and sometimes other people's) children on-line.  And you have judges and Sheriffs doing it too, by making inmates wear certain clothing or do certain things, etc.

So why not this?  They said explicitly that their purpose is to shame people who commit child abuse. 

That said, I tend to resist the temptation to define someone solely by their worst behaviors, so, again, mixed feelings here. Most importantly, I feel like the obit tells me more about the children than it does about her.  I feel like there was probably a different way to make the same kind of point, but still sounding more gracious.

.OceanBlue.
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM
1 mom liked this

My thoughts exactly. It made the family look classless and put them on the same level as the woman they buried. 

Quoting grandmab125:

 I think it was tacky, and made her family look small.  I'm sure all of the family's friends, neighbors, etc. knew about her.  Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't have put her obituary in the paper at all.


sarahjz
by Bronze Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM


Quoting grandmab125:

 I think it was tacky, and made her family look small.  I'm sure all of the family's friends, neighbors, etc. knew about her.  Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't have put her obituary in the paper at all.

When reading it, I had a feeling of, "More power to them."

sarahjz
by Bronze Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 5:17 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting MsDenuninani:

Mixed feelings.

But I did have this thought -- right now, there are many instances of parents publicly shaming their (and sometimes other people's) children on-line.  And you have judges and Sheriffs doing it too, by making inmates wear certain clothing or do certain things, etc.

So why not this?  They said explicitly that their purpose is to shame people who commit child abuse. 

That said, I tend to resist the temptation to define someone solely by their worst behaviors, so, again, mixed feelings here. Most importantly, I feel like the obit tells me more about the children than it does about her.  I feel like there was probably a different way to make the same kind of point, but still sounding more gracious.

Typically, I would agree with this ↑ but in the case of repeated, horrific abuse, to the point of 6 children being removed from a home, I think that likely paints a pretty accurate picture of the mom.

sarahjz
by Bronze Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 5:17 PM

I sort of wondered why they didn't take an ad out while she was alive.  Now that's she's dead she won't even know they were trying to shame her.

Quoting .OceanBlue.:

My thoughts exactly. It made the family look classless and put them on the same level as the woman they buried. 

Quoting grandmab125:

 I think it was tacky, and made her family look small.  I'm sure all of the family's friends, neighbors, etc. knew about her.  Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't have put her obituary in the paper at all.



gludwig2000
by Gina on Sep. 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM

 All I can say is that I'm glad that my children don't feel that way about me. How sad for the entire family, imo.

autodidact
by Silver Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM

why on earth would anyone expect a sweet rememberence of a monster? 

autodidact
by Silver Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 7:17 PM
1 mom liked this

I'm kind of appalled that some seem to be more upset by the tone of the obit than by the behavior that inspired it. 

Quoting sarahjz:


Quoting MsDenuninani:

Mixed feelings.

But I did have this thought -- right now, there are many instances of parents publicly shaming their (and sometimes other people's) children on-line.  And you have judges and Sheriffs doing it too, by making inmates wear certain clothing or do certain things, etc.

So why not this?  They said explicitly that their purpose is to shame people who commit child abuse. 

That said, I tend to resist the temptation to define someone solely by their worst behaviors, so, again, mixed feelings here. Most importantly, I feel like the obit tells me more about the children than it does about her.  I feel like there was probably a different way to make the same kind of point, but still sounding more gracious.

Typically, I would agree with this ↑ but in the case of repeated, horrific abuse, to the point of 6 children being removed from a home, I think that likely paints a pretty accurate picture of the mom.


SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Why did they wait so long to say what they thought??

My guess is they wanted to get the inheritance first. 

If they had stood up and spoke their mind regardless of an inheritance, I'd have more respect for them.

So they bound themselves to her for 25 or 30 years longer than they had to, because of money. (My interpretation, anyway.) I think that is despicable in a worse way, to some extent. Silenced for money. If their experience was that bad - and I think it was - speak up against it, come what may. That would have been courageous.

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