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Published: 10 months ago
It’s not often a regular guy from small town U.S.A. has the whole World Wide Web cheering for him. In fact, I would wager that until very recently most of us had never heard of DeMotte, Indiana. But thanks to one incredibly funny obituary and the power of the internet, Terry Ward has put his hometown on the map and inspired people around the world to raise a cold (preferably free) beer in his honor.
When Terry Wayne Ward died Jan. 23, 2018, he 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.”
That is just the first of many hilarious tidbits in an obituary that lovingly highlights anything and everything that made Terry who he was.
Many are calling the memorial to Terry “the best obituary ever,” and it is certainly worthy of the title. Nearly as impressive as the obit itself, is the collection of condolences and tributes in the digital Guest Book featured on NWI Times.
More than 700 people from around the world have taken the time to write in the Guest Book and share their thoughts. U.S. readers from 45 states, D.C., and Guam shared messages, as did people in places as far-flung as New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, and the Netherlands. Ranging from delight to praise to regret to sympathy, the comments speak to a life well lived and an obituary well written. In death, Terry and his life story have made a global impact.
We’ve selected a few of our favorite messages from Terry’s Guest Book. Some of the writers are kindred spirits; some are simply tickled pink by Terry’s obit. All are strangers who were moved to write something to/about a man they never met but, invariably, wish they had.
“After seeing this story on my local news I felt I needed to find and read the entire obituary and I am so glad I did. Thank you for giving all of us a glimpse into the life of an amazing man. Thought and prayers to all who knew him. I will lift one in his great honor this evening. RIP Terry Wayne Ward!”
~ Bob Rule, Kansas City, Missouri
“This is the best obituary I have ever seen! I feel as though I know him from the wonderful tribute! God Bless his family!”
~ Glenda Warren, Danville, Kentucky
“I never met the man but I hope my obituary is half as heartfelt and meaningful.”
~ David Yanik, Asheville, North Carolina
“I never met Terry, but damn that obituary makes me wish I had! I'll be drinking a cold one in his honor tonight!”
~ Becky, Amberg, Germany
“RIP Terry and thanks to your family for sharing their loving humor with the World...ya made a crackly old lady laugh, God Bless”
~ Christine Neal, Wilmington, North Carolina
“We have heard all about the amazing Terry Ward all the way over in The Big Island of Hawaii. You were loved and admired. What a blessing that the life you led meant so much to so many. Aloha, Terry”
~ Nancy Haitsuka, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
“This former Hoosier (now living & reading this in Southern California) extends heartfelt condolences to Terry's whole family. What a life, what a sense of humor, what a man. I'm going to go eat some "bean dip" right now in his honor. Bless you all.”
~ Jennifer Raywalt, Lancaster, California
“CCR + ABBA = a well rounded human being. Godspeed Terry!”
~ Joseph Hatch, Ann Arbor, Michigan
“Best obituary EVER! The next libation I partake will be raised in honor of Terry and his Rambler. I'll never look at Miracle Whip the same. Damn, would have loved to sit down and listen to him pontificate on the meaning of life. He was truly on a mission from God.”
~ Joey Wright, Houston, Texas
“Eating Hamburger Helper at the moment w/a mere 9 jars of Miracle Whip in the house as I salute Terry Ward… Peace.”
~ Marilyn Mathews, Long Beach, California
“Sending love from a town of population 40 in Virginia who ALL raised a toast to Terry.”
“Through the wonders of the internet & facebook, hundreds of us who never met this wonderful man, can appreciate him from afar. Thanks to the family for sharing his story… You can rest asured, this Thursday, at my favorite watering hole (American Legion) I will have the entire place raise a toast to him.”
~ Juanita, Delta, Kentucky
“Wow! With an obituary like this one, our world is no doubt a better place having had Terry in it. Cheers to a life well-lived!”
~ Amy Hamblen, New York, New York
“I hope that Heaven is playing ABBA and has all the spare auto parts you've ever dreamed of. RIP. Praying for you and your family.”
~ Susan Augustine, Phoenix, Arizona
“I sat here with a content smile for about 10 minutes not knowing what else to write. Thanks. It's good to smile again.”
“You the man Terry”