As It Happens

Read this woman's hilarious obituary for her dad — a lover of electrical tape and Miracle Whip

Jean Lahm knew the only way to honour her father's legacy was to write an obituary as funny as he was.
Terry Ward, left, poses with his daughter Jean Lahm. (Submitted by Jean Lahm)
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When Jean Lahm was tasked with writing her father's obituary, she knew there was only one way she could honour him —  by penning a tribute to his amazing sense of humour.

"When I wrote this obituary I knew it had to be funny, because that was my dad," Lahm told As It Happens guest host Helen Mann about her now viral tribute to her late father.

Terry Ward, from Demotte, Ind., died Jan. 23. The Vietnam War veteran was 71.

In his obituary, Lahm wrote that he will be remembered for his "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."

While Lahm says that may be a bit of an exaggeration, her father's preparedness was a big part of who he was. Most notably, Miracle Whip.

"My sisters and I found it hysterical that … we would open a cabinet in his garage or something and there would be maybe three, four jars of Miracle Whip. That's a whole lot to us, you know," she said.

Ward with his wife Kathy, the 'love of his life.' (Submitted by Jean Lahm)

But, as she explains, the five bottles of ketchup and other items her dad kept stockpiled came in handy when she went off to college — and would come home to do her grocery shopping in her dad's garage.

Ward was married for 48 years to his wife Kathy, who he met "by telling her he was a lineman," Lahm wrote in the obituary.

"He didn't specify early on that he was a lineman for the phone company, not the NFL."

5,000 rolls of electrical tape

His work as a lineman for AT&T meant that he had access to a lot of black electrical tape  — 5,000 rolls, according to his obituary. It was a staple in his life.

"It was just one of those things used for everything. If tape was used with something, it was black tape," Lahm said.  

"What was funny, too, is that he always carried a roll on him, as if he would be prepared for any sort of tape emergency that might occur outside of the home."

'It was like a gold star'

Life with Ward as a father was never boring, and that includes Christmas. Lahm remembers that for a few years, they celebrated "Festivus" — the holiday created on the sitcom Seinfeld. It was complete with a Festivus pole and the annual feats of strength.

Ward will be remembered for his sense of humour, as well his Miracle Whip collection, love of Abba and constant use of electrical tape. (Submitted by Jean Lahm)

But the goal of every Christmas was to find the perfect, hilarious gift for Ward.

"If you found something my dad absolutely loved and just roared with laughter, it was like a gold star," she said.

'Uppity' foods

Ward also enjoyed "Bed Bath & Beyond, starlight mints" and "cold beer," according to his obituary.

His taste in music ranged from Grand Funk Railroad, to his favourite Abba song, Fernando.  

Lahm hopes Ward's obituary will inspire more people to 'honour their loved one through humour.' (Submitted by Jean Lahm)

But one thing he couldn't stand was "uppity" foods like humus, Lahm said.

"We knew that if we called it humus, he would not even try it. He considered that to be too uppity of a food perhaps," she said.

"So I would just say, 'Dad I made some bean dip,' and 'Oh this is pretty good,' he'd say."

'Honour their loved one just through humour'

Lahm's obituary to her father was posted on Geisen Funeral Home's website after his death, but has now spread across the web. 

"When it went viral it was just unbelievable and I've just been thrilled with how it has made so many people laugh now around the world," she said.

As Lahm remembers her father, she hopes this obituary —  and her father's humour —  will help people find the balance between grief and remembering the happy times they had with their loved one.  

"I really hope that we will see more obituaries like this, where people can honour their loved one just through humour," she said.

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