Obitfilter
May 5, 2013 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Did you know you can pay to have the obituary for a non-famous loved one put in the New York Times? The family of Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi did.
"Waffle House lost a loyal customer on April 30, 2013. Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux died after a battle with multiple illnesses: lupus, rickets, scurvy, kidney disease and feline leukemia."
The obituary goes on to make fun of four generations of family (from her father to her grandchildren), the Hancock County Library Foundation and the clergyman presiding at her memorial service, closing with the statement that "Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial."
via Miss Cellania of Neatorama
posted by oneswellfoop (62 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by oneswellfoop at 4:18 PM on May 5, 2013


.

This is fantastic. I can only hope someday that my obituary will begin with "Waffle House lost a loyal customer on . . ."
posted by Countess Elena at 4:20 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I expect that Chipotle will be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in my death.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:25 PM on May 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I guess I'm humorless, but this is about as funny to me as a pair of Truck Nutz, which is to say not at all, and tasteless to boot.
posted by Unified Theory at 4:32 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are some people who put a death anniversary notice for Richard III in the Chicago Tribune, which was the most amusing obituary I'd ever seen. Until now.
posted by hoyland at 4:33 PM on May 5, 2013


Oh, no dot for this old gal. The last thing her or her family wants is a moment of silence.

Rock on, Toni. And when St. Peter tells you to take the cigarette out of your mouth, tell him The Lord said he can kiss your ass.
posted by eriko at 4:34 PM on May 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Some people grieve in different ways. I think it's a great way to say goodbye to someone with affection.
posted by arcticseal at 4:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


What moved it away from tastelessness for me was how most of the humor was NOT aimed at the deceased, but rather toward her loved ones (although in the case of the ex-husband, maybe not). And the Library. Talk about your "Late Fees".
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:36 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


More obituaries need to be this candid. I was disappointed that the obituary trope to do with the 'arms of Jesus' is in there. I freakin' HATE that phrase, or any like it, in obituaries...
posted by kuppajava at 4:37 PM on May 5, 2013


I'm confused. That was a paid death notice in the NYT about a cat, right?

I guess I'm humorless, but this is about as funny to me as a pair of Truck Nutz, which is to say not at all, and tasteless to boot.

I have to agree.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 4:37 PM on May 5, 2013


I'm confused. That was a paid death notice in the NYT about a cat, right?

The picture at the top of the article seems to indicate otherwise. Also, I figured when they got to 'scurvy', they were probably joking, so feline leukemia was just another nail in the coffin.

You should pardon the expression.

.
posted by Mooski at 4:41 PM on May 5, 2013


Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial. She is not dead. She is alive.

,
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


Actually, I dig this. Thanks for posting, I never would have seen it otherwise.

Anyone know if the NY Times still accepts paid obits, and if so what they cost?
posted by nevercalm at 4:42 PM on May 5, 2013


I'm a little confused here. Cats can't get scurvy. (Unlike primates, cats can synthesize their own vitamin C.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:42 PM on May 5, 2013


I guess I'm humorless...

Well, I know someone who's not invited to my funeral.
posted by spacewrench at 4:43 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


My grandmother was this kind of person. At her funeral, there was a group of us that found our way to their little breakroom and we were telling stories and laughing. We got just as much mean muggin' as you'd think but if you knew my grandmother at all, you knew she'd be bored as hell at a funeral and wouldn't want to be around a bunch of people standing around being sad. She'd have been the first one in the breakroom, mean muggin' or no.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:43 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


This struck a chord with me because this is very much the kind of Southern lady I have been lucky to have in my life. Boozy, frank, funny, loving, generous, and somehow* a pillar of society at the same time. In fact, I just sent it to my mom. She's not quite as flamboyant, but my godmother definitely is. I fully expect my godmother, come the day, to demand plastic lawn flamingos on her grave.

The names of her son and grandson reminded me of something Dave Barry said: "One thing I like about the South is, folks there care about tradition. If somebody gets handed a name like 'H. Boyce,' he hangs on to it, puts it on his legal stationery, even passes it to his son, rather than do what a lesser person would do, such as get it changed or kill himself."

-----
* By means of having a certain family and/or amount of money, unfortunately; but this does not make such ladies less genuine.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:44 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm confused. That was a paid death notice in the NYT about a cat, right?

Nope. Unless cats prefer Clairol blonde in a box #47.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:46 PM on May 5, 2013




This is hilarious, loving and wonderful.

As a childless person, I immediately sent it to my partner and told him that if we could have kids like the authors of this obit, I would be all about having kids ASAP.
posted by arnicae at 4:52 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wonderful. I've just sent this on to my extended family as example of how I want things handled after I shuffle off to Buffalo.
posted by thivaia at 4:53 PM on May 5, 2013


As someone who writes dull dishwater obituaries every day, this is marvelous. I'm frankly shocked there is (was) someone this funny in Bay St. Louis.
posted by ColdChef at 4:55 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


My Grandpa would have loved this kind of tribute. He wanted us to have a keg in the church at his funeral, but the church wouldn't allow it.

After the funeral, we were all drinking his beloved whiskey sours in his honor. It was then that I learned from two of his former classmates that not only did he help disassemble his high school principal's car and reassemble it on the roof of the gym, he let a small herd of cattle loose in his high school. And I was proud.
posted by kamikazegopher at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also: Meanest Obituary Ever.
posted by ColdChef at 4:58 PM on May 5, 2013


Also
posted by ColdChef at 4:59 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I plan on leaving a request that my friends and family acknowledge my lifelong love of music and join together to listen to one last song in its entirety in my honor.

Then all the doors and windows lock and the PA blares Sleep's "Dopesmoker" for 63 glorious minutes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:59 PM on May 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


This part at the end made me cry, just a little:

On a last but serious note, the woman who loved life and taught her children to 'laugh at the days to come' is now safely in the arms of Jesus and dancing at the wedding feast of the Lamb. She will be missed as a mother, friend and grandmother. Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial. She is not dead. She is alive.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:01 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm frankly shocked there is (was) someone this funny in Bay St. Louis.
I suspect that the actual authorship of that tribute belongs to one or more surviving relatives, so the humor lives on...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:02 PM on May 5, 2013


It's likely that friends and family hear this in her voice when they read it. It's just rich with personality. This is the kind of humor with which I hope I am remembered when I die. Much rather this than the dour, boilerplate language of so many obits.
posted by tzikeh at 5:05 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's certainly possible that she wrote this herself, too. I love it, for what it's worth.

As someone said above, no "." for this broad. She gets a !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by k8lin at 5:05 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: Meanest Obituary Ever.

No, I'd say this is the meanest obituary ever. (Or at least the most uncharacteristically honest.)
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I say this without even a hint of sarcasm - I hope to be loved enough by my friends and family to have something this affectionate written about me when I go.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:13 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought it was a great obituary and got an immediate sense of what this person was like.

I very recently attended an unconventional memorial. Although we were all sad--it was a horribly premature and unexpected death--the memorial was joyful: a beautiful, funny tribute to a young person who was full of life. The shockingly hilarious, irreverent stories and the loving warts-and-all portraits of the person were what the family wanted, and they helped us all have a fuller picture of this individual. It wasn't a traditional service, and I'm sure some would have found aspects of it not to their taste, but it was perfect for this particular situation.

These things are different from family to family, and this NYT obit seems in keeping with this person and her family.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:13 PM on May 5, 2013


(On a side note, expect more silly obits like this. Obituaries used to fall under the editorial department of most newspapers. Facts and grammar would be checked before publishing. You couldn't just say you won a Purple Heart, you had to prove it. This is mostly no longer the case. Most obituary departments now fall under the "Advertising" department. They are no longer fact-checked and in many cases, not spell-checked either. A sad, but inevitable change. Also: a one-day obituary of modest length will now cost you several hundred dollars for a single day's run in most large papers. I wouldn't be surprised if this one cost over a thousand each day.)
posted by ColdChef at 5:17 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


They inherited their unique sense of humor from their father, Paul "P. Marvelous" White. He gave nicknames to all the girls such as "tittle mouse", "kittycat", "bouder bounce", "spooker mcdougle" and "poodle pump."

You can't just drop that in casually. We need the stories behind poodle pump and spooker mcdougle.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:18 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


[She] had the ability with family pets to usher them toward heaven at an unrivaled pace.

Awesome.
posted by nightwood at 5:24 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


!
posted by drezdn at 5:26 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Newspapers have long had both paid death notices, where people could say mostly what they want, and news obits. (Oddly, my hometown paper in Ohio refused to allow references to people's military experience in the paid notices and so my father's service in Korea during the war and then extensive National Guard service was omitted. )What seems to be different is the willingness of families to level, instead of pretending their relatives were perfect. And while I applaud honesty, I'm not sure why a family would want to show the world the nastiness displayed in the one that ends "GOODBYE MOM." I guess if the mom was as horrible as they indicate, she produced a generation of wretched human beings and they're happy to show everyone that.
posted by etaoin at 5:28 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


my father's service in Korea during the war and then extensive National Guard service was omitted.

Most likely because they did not have someone to fact-check it. The military used to be very zealous about claims about service made in newspapers.

ALSO: you are correct. There are two different types of obituaries. Paid obituaries that are written by funeral homes and families and editorial obituaries that are written by paid newspaper staff. Sometimes, if I get a service where the individual is of particular note, I'll call the paper and alert them, and often it will be handed off to the editorial side.

ALSO ALSO: When families don't get along, sometimes obituaries cause fights. When a child dies, it's not so unusual these days to have two obits: one written by the father's side and one written by the mother's side. People are terrible sometimes.
posted by ColdChef at 5:34 PM on May 5, 2013


Oh, I loved this. And today is the anniversary of my dear (and funny, and often profane) dad's death, so I am a lot more predisposed to laugh through the tears today.
posted by 41swans at 5:57 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed that the obituary trope to do with the 'arms of Jesus'

Dude, this obituary does not follow the usual tropes. If you find her religion ridiculous, consider that Toni was clearly comfortable with being ridiculous.

I sorely regret that I do not currently have access to a sousaphone because it would feel good to get out in the streets and blat joyously.

.
nope
..
drat
...............
I keep adding pebbles to her tombstone but she won't stay down.
.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:03 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, but if she truly is 'in the arms of Jesus', she most certainly has already given Him a new nickname and told Him he's "just like your father"...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:11 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


...a statement that haunts Jesus to this day.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:16 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


ALSO ALSO: When families don't get along, sometimes obituaries cause fights.

The hardest part about writing my dad's obituary was figuring out a way to write it that would satisfy my mother but not cause a giant family brawl. She didn't care at the time, but I didn't want her to have to deal with the fallout if it were submitted in the form she originally demanded. It was bad enough that I had to offend a couple of stiff-necked pastors who each assumed they were going to do the eulogy, neither of whom my mother wanted to do it.

I hope this lady's whole family was on-board with that obituary, because it is hurtful to have people angry at you when you're trying to do what you think the deceased would have wanted.
posted by winna at 6:28 PM on May 5, 2013


Scurvy?

This is a joke right?
posted by spitbull at 6:38 PM on May 5, 2013


!
posted by Sequence at 6:41 PM on May 5, 2013


A few years ago I went to the wake and funeral of the elderly biker husband of my favorite hash-slinging Masshole short-order diner cook on Earth.

For the wake, he was in full biker regalia, laid out sans coffin because he'd once told his wife Anne that he wanted to be put out "like the Pope".

For the funeral, his family all gave incredibly moving speeches, and then his daughter played "Dirty Deeds" from the lectern microphone, in it's entirety, in the middle of a very old-school Irish Catholic church.

I didn't think that could be topped, ever. Ms. Larroux is definitely in the running now, though...!
posted by rollbiz at 6:46 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lupus? (Dr. House would not approve)
Rickets?
Scurvy?
Feline leukemia?

Yes, it was a joke, right.

The kidney disease was probably serious.

As a wise man/wise guy once told me "half of what I say is ridiculous, but I say it so that the other half may reach you". (the original Kahlil Gibran quote used the word 'meaningless', but the man I knew misquoted it well)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:54 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


(On a side note, expect more silly obits like this. Obituaries used to fall under the editorial department of most newspapers.

To be clear, this isn't an editorial obituary, it's a paid death notice, which as etaoin says have been around a long time. It can be a little confusing, but this wouldn't be called a "New York Times obituary" - that's why it's clearly marked. Major obituaries are not paid and still are fact-checked. For a death notice, though, the only requirement is usually a call to the funeral home to verify that the person is actually dead.

It's true that obituaries and death notices have both trended toward the more informal in recent decades; I think it's more a Baby-Boom thing than advertising-driven, since it predated a push for such advertising dollars. I was doing obits for a newspaper when things started to change. There was the standard - X was born in [place], served in [branch of the military] during World War II and won [honors], then worked at [business] for X years. He is survived by his wife [Wife] and children [children and where they live] and X number of grandchildren. Services will be held at [house of worship]. And then there were people who wheedled over the phone "Can't you put in that he was famous for his train layout? He really liked lilies and actually cultivated his own variety, can you mention that?" So gradually, newsrooms started to comply and opened up the rigid format a bit. If anything, that actually cut into the death-notice revenue, because the death notice was handled by classified and is where you could put all the detail you wanted to pay for, while the obit was handled by editorial and strictly brass tacks - so many families would buy a death notice even when there was a straight obit in the paper already. I really think it was sort of a cult-of-the-individual thing reflective of the post-WWII generation, cultural rather than revenue-driven.
posted by Miko at 7:00 PM on May 5, 2013


I fully expect my godmother, come the day, to demand plastic lawn flamingos on her grave.

I have already told my family I expect flamingos and gnomes on mine.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:12 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sad news.
Funerals are for the living.
The dead person never was.
Just to lighten things up, a bit.
posted by breadbox at 9:46 PM on May 5, 2013


I thought this was very funny and very sweet.

For some reason, when I read it, I recalled the obituary of Neil Alan Smith, a 48-year-old dishwasher, whose death notice's comments section prompted the newspaper to have an award-winning writer handle his obituary.

That, of course, led me to Jimmy James' wonderful comment that features a beautiful story read by Hector Elizondo.

RIP Toni.
posted by phoebus at 10:26 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


That Neil Smith obituary is a thing of beauty.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:28 AM on May 6, 2013


When I die, if any of you know about it, please - I would like something similar-ish. My greatest fun is finding the ridiculous in the day, and hopefully making someone laugh. My ADHD which will probably kill me due to the ridiculous risks it forces me to take, also creates special hallmark movie moments, where I come out as bisexual at university research meetings, discuss the length of Kinsey's penis and how it caused him to remain virgin for the first few years of his marriage, note the the best and least suspicious way to kill someone is to feed them polar bear liver (whereupon they die from an overdose of Vitamin D) and a good way to hide a body is under a coffin, or by rolling barbed wire around the corpse to prevent bloating and gasses bringing it to the surface of the water during decomposition. I'm not to everyone's taste (as this obituary is not), but I know an obituary like this would make people remember fun things about me, and have a laugh, and that would be what I would want, if I could want anything, being as I am an atheist, and fully expect not to notice anything that happens after I die.
posted by b33j at 5:06 AM on May 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, I must be too excited for May 26th, because I read most of that in Ron Howard's voice. It works surprisingly well.
posted by that's how you get ants at 5:22 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


how I want things handled after I shuffle off to Buffalo

Piece of advice: just die instead. You've got a 50% chance at Heaven and even Hell can't be that bad.
posted by yerfatma at 6:14 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: Meanest Obituary Ever.
No, I'd say this is the meanest obituary ever.

posted by dlugoczaj at 7:24 AM on May 6, 2013


Also: Meanest Obituary Ever.
No, I'd say this is the meanest obituary ever.


Wow. (Originally typed "woe," and probably should have let that stand.) That wins. I didn't think the previous one was mean about the deceased at all, although it was pretty mean about his workplace.

And did anyone else read from that one that it was written by a straight spouse of a gay man? Tough lady, if so.
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:26 AM on May 6, 2013


Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial.

This made me think of Jim Henson's public memorial.

For some, it's appropriate to give your regards in a quiet, reserved fashion. For others, you gather around and retell all the bawdy stories the deceased ever told, because they paid no heed to quiet grievers when they lived. And sometimes, you do both.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:05 AM on May 6, 2013


When I die, you better second line.

My brother said that even if he doesn't get to live in New Orleans for long, he wants to die there, because they know how to celebrate. Second lines are appropriate for funerals, weddings, opening a new business, or any event which people think merits hiring a parading band for such a style of celebration.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I absolutely loved this, and felt the warmth and care her loved ones had for her in every word. May we all be so well-known and wryly regarded.

My family is quite dysfunctional, as is everyone's, but it all but imploded upon my maternal grandfather's death. He was a touring rockabilly musician for much of his life, with many lifelong friends, and after we spent months in the hospital watching him slowly slip away before throwing one last party where all his old bandmates came to play his favorite songs for him at the VA hospital, basically everyone wanted to have a rollicking memorial service so we could all sit around talking about how awesome he was and toasting his memory to the wee hours.
Unfortunately (IMO), my grandmother -- his wife of 50 years, ever the misanthrope -- steadfastly refused to do anything except have him privately cremated, with the box of ashes containing what used to be a strong, hilarious, generous, and kind-hearted man buried unceremoniously in a nondescript plot he'd purchased decades before.
When my mother wrote the death notice, weeks after his passing so no one would ask about funeral or memorial arrangements, it was short and very matter-of-fact until the last sentence: "By the way, this sucks."

Toni, I bet you were awesome, and your loss -- by the way, it sucks.

.
posted by divined by radio at 8:47 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


b33j: "note the the best and least suspicious way to kill someone is to feed them polar bear liver"

Yes, nothing strange about that.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:29 PM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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