Cancer Patient's Daughter Writes His Obituary, Story Leaves Everyone Filled with Laughter


From time to time, motivational professionals, such as life coaches and leadership gurus, like to remind us that we’re all going to die. Perhaps they do so as a way of jolting us into action in the here and now.

Consider what inspirational/financial author Michael Hyatt wrote on his website, saying, that envisioning your own funeral “is incredibly helpful.”

“This eulogy exercise is not theoretical. You will eventually die, and it will come sooner than you expect. That’s just reality.”

Somber stuff — but not for everyone. According to the Delaware News Journal, one Wilmington, Delaware, man received a eulogy that was downright hilarious.

Rick Stein was 71 years old when he passed away. A businessman, he’d established a long-running local jewelry store in the area.

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However, he’d run into digestive problems last summer and sought medical treatment. When physicians finally figured out what was going on with him, they had to deliver some terrible news.

Stein had bile duct cancer, and he passed away not long after the diagnosis. “That part of it was, thank God, really quick,” his daughter, Alex Walsh, said.

In fact, he died so quickly that his family didn’t have a eulogy planned. So Stein’s wife asked Walsh to write an obituary for her father, and what she produced turned out to be on the quirky side of things.

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“Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018, when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach,” it began. The obituary continued in a similarly outlandish manner.

“‘The sea was angry that day,’ said NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. ‘We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely.’”

The obituary painted Stein as some Jason Bourne-style character, a globe-trotting man whose very occupation proved a mystery. Trail guide, rug salesman, pilot, restaurateur — the obituary included all of those and even more possibilities.

It went on to say that Stein’s wife was involved in his disappearance, saying, “FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome, which was Mr. Stein’s favorite city. An anonymous source with the airline reports the name used to book the other ticket was Juan Morefore DeRoad, which, according to the FBI, was an alias Stein used for many years.”

You’ve probably guessed that the vast majority of the obituary was stuff and nonsense, a light-hearted way to celebrate a man with an outsized personality. Walsh’s words admitted as much at the end and did so in a heartbreakingly poignant way.

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“That is one story,” she wrote in the final paragraph. “Another story is that Rick never left the hospital and died peacefully with his wife and his daughter holding tightly to his hands.”

This isn’t the first time that Walsh has penned an outlandish celebration of a family member’s life. In 2013, she wrote a similarly crazy obituary for her aunt, Alicia Flaherty Stein.

Part of it read, “Alicia wasn’t a fan of cooking, but made a mean reservation. If she could, she would offer her condolences to the soon-to-be-unemployed caterers she can no longer hire.”

Walsh hoped that her tongue-in-cheek tribute to her dad would’ve pleased him. “No words could ever do him justice, but we did our best to come close,” she said.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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