An obituary is a way to announce a loved one’s death to the community and share the story of their life with others. A typical obituary includes the person’s name, date of birth and death, and a short biography. But some obituaries take things a step further, sharing hilarious anecdotes or being bluntly honest about the person who’s passed away.
Some of the most unique obituaries have gone viral, amassing thousands of shares online. Most of those are for people, but some of them, as you’ll see below, have also been for beloved pets who’ve passed away.
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Whether they’re funny, mean, or just plain honest, we’ll share with you some of the most “viral” death announcements to ever hit the internet.
Funny Viral Obituaries
The internet is the perfect place to turn when you need a good laugh. But you might not expect that lightheartedness to come from an obituary. The obituaries below prove that death doesn’t always have to be such a heavy topic.
1. Uncle Bunky
Randall Jacobs, who went by Uncle Bunky or “the Bunkster” amongst family, had his obituary posted in the Arizona Republic. The author of Bunky’s obituary was his nephew, an artist out of Brooklyn.
Uncle Bunky’s nephew lovingly described the late Arizona resident as “a living ‘hang-loose’ sign, a swaggering hybrid of desert rat, SoCal hobo and Telluride ski bum.”
The obituary also described some of Uncle Bunky’s “Bunky-isms,” including sayings like, “Save it, clown!” and nicknames like “mud flap,” which he lovingly applied to his nephews.
2. Joe Heller
Joe Heller’s obituary describes how he “made his last undignified and largely irreverent gesture” on the day of his death, September 8, 2019. It goes on to detail some of Joe’s most noteworthy pranks, including lacing a chocolate cake with laxatives to thwart a lunch-thief, and naming his first dog “Fart.”
The authors of the obit also tell us about the moment the man’s doctors told his family he was “a very sick man.” In unison, Joe’s daughters replied, “You have no idea.”
3. Danny Lloyd
Danny Lloyd’s obituary begins by describing how the man passed away at the age of 64 “to avoid having to pay taxes for the past year” and “to avoid another year of his New York Yankees not winning the World Series.”
Just like his obituary, it’s obvious Danny Lloyd had a sense of humor. He apparently left his car to a total of 12 different people in the days before his death.
4. Terry Ward
Terry Ward’s viral obituary inspired more than 700 complete strangers around the world to write in his online guest book.
It’s full of hilarious details, including the fact that Ward left 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 Ward’s obituary is a testament to the fact that an obituary can paint a complete picture of a person. It can make you feel like you know who they were, even if you never met them.
5. Chris Connors
Chris Connors’ obituary opens: “Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey.” It goes on to describe the departed as a “ladies man, game slayer, and outlaw,” who “told his last inappropriate joke” on the day of his death (a joke that could not be printed in the obituary).
Connors’ obituary went viral for its humor, as well as for how it lovingly described the departed. It states that the way Chris Connors died was “just like he lived: he wrote his own rules, he fought authority, and he paved his own way.”
Mean or Honest Viral Obituaries
Some people use an obituary to get the “last word.” After all, the person who’s passed away can’t exactly argue about anything said about them. And sometimes, a person tasked with writing an obituary just can’t help but be honest about the deceased, even if it means speaking ill of the dead.
Here are some of the most viral, honest obituaries we could find.
1. Dolores Aguilar
One of the first viral, “mean obituaries” belongs to Dolores Aguilar. Her death notice was even used as a template by another mean obituary writer years later.
Dolores Aguilar died in the summer of 2008, and her family chose to immortalize her in a brutally honest way: not for her positive qualities and kindness, but for the negative impact she had on those around her.
Aguilar’s obituary reads, in part: “Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life.”
The obituary was so harsh that Snopes even investigated it to make sure it wasn’t a hoax.
2. Kathleen Dehmlow
Like many honest obituaries, Kathleen Dehmlow’s death notice begins normally enough. It describes how she was born in 1938 and married her husband in 1957. She had two children, named Gina and Jay.
From there, though, the tribute takes an unpleasant turn. It describes how Kathleen was unfaithful to her husband and expresses that the woman will now face judgment for her sins. Her obituary authors express that, “She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her.”
3. Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick
Like the previous two obituaries, Marianne Reddick’s obituary was penned by her children. The woman passed away in August of 2013, and her six children were left without many pleasant memories of their mother.
They wrote, “She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them.”
4. Leslie Ray Charping
Leslie Ray Charping’s family pulled no punches when it was time to write an obituary for the man. After the notice went viral, his family removed it from the Carnes Funeral Home website, where it was originally posted. It’s likely that Charping’s daughter, who wrote the obit, didn’t expect it to reach such a wide audience.
Leslie’s obituary describes his failings as a parent, as well as his “commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive.” It goes on to state that “With Leslie’s passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend,” and that ”Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all.”
Viral Pet Obituaries
Not everyone writes or posts an obituary for their pets when they pass away. Those that do choose to honor their pets with an obituary often put their creativity to use and create something truly special. And sometimes, those unique pet obituaries reach more readers than the author may have expected.
Here are some of the most viral obituaries for pets on the internet today.
When her beloved golden retriever passed away, Sallie Gregory Hammett wrote an obituary that went viral on social media. Hammett “published” the obituary in a mock newspaper she created, after she saw what an actual obituary would cost to publish.
Hammett wrote in the obituary that Charlie “loved everything life had to offer,” except for stairs. It continues, stating that "More than anything else, Charlie loved his mom. He was always there to greet her with some kisses and a firm grip on her arm. He was her constant companion."
Based on Brian the dog’s obituary, he was a beloved member of his family. His obituary, published by NBC Connecticut, described him as “a lover of couches and blankets” and described how his favorite hobbies included “barking at things not there, cuddling alongside you, taking over his mother’s bed, licking his butt, acting like a spazz when it was time to be fed, and trying to figure out who exactly was ‘the good boy.’”
Brian’s owner, Lee DiBella, wrote the heartfelt obituary to say a final goodbye to her unique, loving pet.
Writing a Viral Obituary
The obituaries above show that a death notice can be honest, personal, and unique. They’re examples of how you can paint a picture of a person’s life with an obituary, giving others the opportunity to see them as you did.
But if you want to write an obituary that’s funny, honest, or especially unique, keep in mind that nothing you put out into the world is private. There’s always a chance--albeit pretty small--that your obituary for a loved one could go viral if enough people find it interesting or laugh-worthy.
So before you submit your obituary to a newspaper or online memorial, consider how you would feel if everyone you know--and many people you don’t--ended up reading those words.
Luckily, there are plenty of great examples of obituaries for you to use as inspiration if you want to pay tribute to your loved one without gaining any unwanted publicity.
- Mikkelson, David. “Death be not proud.” Snopes. 20 August 2008. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/death-penalty/