Terry Ward of DeMotte, Ind., passed away on Jan. 23 at the age of 71. Although most of us never met him, we know that he died believing that The Blues Brothers was the best movie ever, and that (young) Clint Eastwood was the “baddest-ass man on the planet.”
In a humorously touching obituary that quickly went viral, Ward’s daughter Jean Lahm details how her dad “escaped this mortal realm” a couple of weeks ago, “leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper,” and a multitude of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
“He was all about making people laugh. He just had this quirky, witty sense of humor and we all got it from him. The household was built on who could get the best laugh,” Lahm, who works at Geisen Funeral Homes in Indiana, told Today. “That’s how my dad was.”
Among the things that Terry enjoyed were hunting, fishing, golfing, snorkeling, Abba, cold beer (especially if it was free), discussing who makes the best pizza — and, above all, his family.
“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,” the obituary continues. “Still, Kathy and Terry wed in the fall of 1969, perfectly between the Summer of Love and the Winter of Regret.”
After volunteering with the Army, he worked with AT&T (“formerly Ameritech, formerly formerly Indiana Bell”) for 39 years of “begrudging service.” He accumulated roughly 3,000 rolls of black electrical tape during the course of his career (he used them for everything from open wounds to “Don’t use this button” covers).
He had a big heart — he was a renowned distributor of popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to his grandchildren, but he despised “uppity foods” like hummus, which his family called “bean dip” (for his benefit) — and which he came to love with that name.
“He couldn’t give a damn about most material things, and automobiles were never to be purchased new. He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians,” Lahm added.
The obituary resonated with strangers from around the world, and the online guest book received hundreds of supportive messages.
“Never met the gentleman. But after reading this obit, he seems like the type of guy I would love hanging with. My condolences and prayers for the family,” one person wrote.
As for Lahm, she told the Chicago Tribune that she loves how humor can resonate with people.
“Being in the funeral industry, I’ve seen that when families can come together, celebrate a life and truly laugh — it’s what helps them heal,” she said.
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