Keep the Fun in Funeral
Today Bobbi’s writing group got together in memory of one of their group who—to paraphrase Monty Python ——had died, passed on, was no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet her maker, was a stiff, bereft of life, resting in peace, pushing up the daisies, kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.
Bobbi asked me to read the group the obituary my brother and I had written for my Dad.
“Do you have it?” She asked.
“Hey, I’ll Google it,” I said. I remembered I’d found an archive of the obit in an online archive of the local newpaper: the Panama City Bugle or Star or Beach Buggy.
So I queried Google, and Google found this memorial website—which I’d forgotten that I’d created.
Thanks to Bobbi for reminding me to look. And holy shit, thank you, Google, for finding it!
The link goes to a page containing series of articles themed on my Dad’s passing. It features the entire obit, pretty much as Mark and I wrote it, duplicated below for people who can’t be bothered clicking links.
The back story
You won’t understand the headline without the family hisotry.
First historical note: Dad was a preemie. In those days, preemies died. Early, I mean. So they didn’t register his birth. Apparently, you could, in those days. He was kept in a shoebox (he was tiny) under the kitchen stove (warmest place in the house) according to family legend. He might have been fed with an eyedropper, but I might be mixing that story up with the one about the bird we rescued.
About six months after he was born, his family concluded that he wasn’t going to die anytime soon. So they registered his birth. Apparently, you could, in those days. But the date on his birth certificate was the date of registration, not the date he was first stuck in a shoe box under the stove.
So Dad’s family celebrated two birthdays for him each year: the day he was born, and the day his birth was registered.
And when we all were born we continued the tradition. Two birthdays a year means that he was 84 when he died, but he died after his 168th birthday.
Second historical note: Dad’s mother was forced into a marriage in Hungary. She left on her wedding night and emigrated to the US. There she married Dad’s father (Grandpa Charlie) and eventually gave birth to preemie-Dad. But she had not divorced her Hungarian husband.
So technically, the marriage was illegal.
So technically, Dad was a bastard.
Thus the heading:
Bastard dies after 168th birthday
Milton Arthur Wolf passed away at his new home in Panama City, Florida, on Friday, February 4th, when the muse really left him for good. Milton and his wife Judith had moved to Panama City from Baldwin, New York, where they had spent the past forty-seven years. The move and his passing appear unrelated. Milton had celebrated his 168th birthday not long before he died.
Milton Wolf was a graduate of the Pratt Institute. He founded three companies and recently received an honorary degree as Doctor of Scatology. He was also a founding member of the American Cacological Society and its first President.
He is survived by his wife, Judith, and by his three children: Michael Wolf (his favorite son) of Hopkinton, MA, Dr. Mark Wolf, MD (his best son) of Panama City, FL, and Zorina Worthman-Wolf (his flower child) of Palo Alto, CA (where else?) He is also survived by six grandchildren, a rumored great-grandchild, numerous friends and relatives, and everyone else who isn’t currently dead.
His ashes will be interred at Econfina, the Wolf family farm on February 12th, following a memorial boat ride and barbecue. The family requests that in lieu of flowers that contributions be sent in small unmarked bills to the surviving members of the family.
Milton Wolf was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor. He would have written something like this obituary himself if he had thought of it in time or hadn’t been dead when his kids thought of it. Instead, it was written by his two sons: Michael Wolf, Founder, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of The Wolf Report; and Mark Wolf, who is not Founder, Publisher, and Editor-In-Chief of The Wolf Report, but being an MD does does hysterectomy much better than Michael. Editorial assistance was provided by Judith Wolf. (Judith, don’t encourage them!!!)