Obituaries are often short and understandably somber; a family has just lost a loved one, and many newspapers charge per word for obituaries.
Every once in a while, though, a truly spectacular obituary gets printed.
One such obituary was written for Tim Schrandt, of Spillville, Iowa, who passed on March 29 of this year. The remarkably candid and hilarious review of Tim's life has caught significant attention on social media.
The brutal honesty starts with the opening paragraph:
"Tim Schrandt (Lynyrd) made his last inappropriate comment on March 29, 2019. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn't -because you WOULD remember. For those of you that did meet him, we apologize, as we're sure he probably offended you. He was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is."
They go on to describe Tim's early life with his 7 siblings, which was apparently anything but dull.
"Tim was the 4th of 8 kids, the bottom rung of the top tier (the big kids). Instead of taking his place on that rung, listening to the older kids and doing as he was told by his older siblings, he decided to anoint himself 'king' of the 4 little kids. Tim spent his childhood and early adulthood ordering them around and in general, tormenting them."
His school days were evidently also quite interesting, as he managed to get into a fistfight with a nun in elementary school.
"His position as 'king' and orator was challenged by the nuns at St. Wenceslaus school in Spillville. He may have met his match. We're not saying the nuns won, but they put up a good fight, we mean literally - he got into a fist-a-cuff with a nun. In fairness, she probably started it. You didn't take a swing at Tim and not expect one back."
His disdain for anyone's authority but his own followed him throughout his life.
"Tim's fondness for authority (his own - not others) followed him to South Winneshiek High School in Calmar and later into the Army. This provided for many interesting episodes and stories, detentions and demotions, and a few 'run ins' with the law, not just locally, but globally."
It seems Tim was also a collector of stuff, and his family are at a loss for what to do with all of it.
"Tim leaves behind a hell of a lot of stuff that his family doesn't know what to do with. So, if you are looking for a Virgin Mary in a bathtub shrine (you Catholics know what we're talking about) you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch with them."
"Tomorrow would be fine."
Though Tim will be missed by his family left on this plane of existence, the obituary notes that he was always in charge of the important supplies for family reunions, so his relatives who have already passed will be happy to see him.
"He will be having a reunion with his infant daughter Ashley, his brother Duke, his dad Bill Schrandt, many aunts and uncles and a handful of cousins that passed before him. Tim was in charge of getting the beer and ice for our family reunions, so they will be happy to see him."
More fun was poked at Tim's eccentricities.
"A common line in obituaries is 'He never met a stranger', in Tim's case he never met a rule he couldn't break, a boundary he couldn't push, a line he couldn't cross and a story he couldn't stretch. Another common obituary phrase is 'He'd give the shirt off his back', well Tim was prepared to do that, and he could do it quickly, because he always wore his shirts unbuttoned ¾ the way down. Tim was anything but common!"
But it's clear that whomever wrote the obituary truly cared for him.
"Despite his crusty exterior, cutting remarks and stubbornness, there is actual evidence that he was a loving, giving and caring person. That evidence is the deep sorrow and pain in our hearts that his family feels from his passing."
"Tim led a good life and had a peaceful death - but the transition was a b*tch. And for the record, he did not lose his battle with cancer. When he died, the cancer died, so technically it was a tie! He was ready to meet his Maker, we're just not sure 'The Maker' is ready to meet Tim. Good luck God!"
They couldn't resist one last joke at the end, though.
"We are considering establishing a Go-Fund-Me account for G. Heileman Brewing Co., the brewers of Old Style beer, as we anticipate they are about to experience significant hardship as a result of the loss of Tim's business. Keep them in your thoughts."
Twitter users thoroughly appreciated the tribute to Tim's life.
One person thought Tim looked remarkably like a certain cigarette company mascot.
Some expressed a desire for their own obituary to be written in the same spirit.
Several people on Facebook think that they would have liked Tim if they'd had the chance to meet him.
Obituaries are meant to celebrate the life of the deceased, and Tim's life was certainly an interesting and eventful one.
"Enthralled by the fascinating lives that were marching out of this world, Marilyn Johnson tumbled into the obits page to find out what made it so lively. She sought out the best obits in the English language and chased the people who spent their lives writing about the dead."
"Surveying the darkest corners of Internet chat rooms, surviving a mass gathering of obituarists, and making a pilgrimage to London to savor the most caustic and literate obits of all, Marilyn Johnson leads us into the cult and culture behind the obituary page."
"The result is a rare combination of scrapbook and compelling read, a trip through recent history and the unusual lives we don't quite appreciate until they're gone."