INDIANA — Thousands of people all over the country have never met Terry Ward, a veteran from Indiana. But they feel like they had all thanks to his daughter.
Terry Ward lived to make people laugh, says his daughter Jean Lahn, and the only way to honor him properly was with an obituary that matched his personality.
She succeeded, and her words have gone viral.
The first line alone reads: “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.”
Lahn tells WXIN she works at Geisen Funeral Home and has seen some pretty stale obituaries. She knew it had to be different for her father.
“I wrote it myself and I didn’t tell anyone I was going to make it funny,” Jean said.
Highlights include the marriage of his wife “between the summer of love and the winter of regret,” he never owned a cell phone and had “zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.”
It ended by saying memorial donations could be made in Terry’s name to “your favorite charity or your favorite watering hole.”
The entire obituary reads:
“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.
Terry is survived by his overly-patient and accepting wife Kathy, who was the love of his life (a fact she gladly accepted sympathy for during their 48 years of marriage). He is also survived by daughters Rebecca (William) Hines and Jean (Jeff) Lahm; sister, Linda; brother, Phil; grandchildren: Alexander and Hannah Hines (The Mesopotamians), Daphne and Erin Pistello (The Daffer and Peanut), Brendan and Owen Lahm (Phineas and Ferb) and Tessa McMurry (Smiley).
He is preceded in death by his parents Paul and Bernice Ward, daughter Laura Pistello, grandson Vincent Pistello, brother Kenneth Ward, a 1972 Rambler and a hip.
Terry graduated from Thornridge High School in South Holland, IL, where only three of his teachers took an early retirement after having had him as a student. 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. Still, Kathy and Terry wed in the fall of 1969, perfectly between the Summer of Love and the Winter of Regret.
Terry volunteered his service in the United States Army and was an active combat Veteran in the Viet Nam War.
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).
He enjoyed many, many things. Among those things were hunting, fishing, golfing, snorkeling, ABBA, hiking Turkey Run, chopping wood, shooting guns, Bed Bath & Beyond, starlight mints, cold beer, free beer, The History Channel, CCR, war movies, discussing who makes the best pizza, The Chicago White Sox, old Buicks, and above all, his family.
He was a renowned distributor of popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to his grandchildren. He also turned on programs such as “Phineas and Ferb” for his grand-youngins, usually when they were actually there.
He despised “uppity foods” like hummus, which his family lovingly called “bean dip” for his benefit, which he loved consequently. 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.
Terry died knowing that The Blues Brothers was the best movie ever, (young) Clint Eastwood was the baddest-ass man on the planet, and hot sauce can be added to absolutely any food.
Tremendous and heartfelt thanks go to the truly exceptional nurses at Southlake Methodist Hospital Neuro-Intensive Care Unit, who provided much more than nursing care for Terry, but also provided a peaceful and compassionate environment during his transition from this life to the next.
Friends can visit with the family on Saturday, January 27, from Noon until the time of the Funeral Service at 4:00 PM, with Pastor Mark Wilkins officiating, at Geisen Funeral, Cremation & Receptions Centre, 606 E. 113th Ave., Crown Point, IN. Services will conclude at the funeral home.
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.”
The obituary has since gone viral: