"Robert Spiegel… was born, lived and subsequently died."
By: Linnea Crowther
6 years ago
When you think of something that's going to go viral on the internet, you probably think of something cute (puppies! kittens!!), or maybe something embarrassing (remember the woman who text-walked herself right into a mall fountain?), or something totally bizarre (Numa Numa guy). You probably wouldn't predict that an obituary would go viral. But then, you've probably never read an obit like the one for Robert Spiegel.
"Robert Spiegel… was born, lived and subsequently died. Most of his noteworthy accomplishments happened in said middle part"
"Bedside vigil was fueled by lively conversation, background music of Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley, chicken curry and the occasional smuggled glass of Glenlivet"
Spiegel's obituary is clever and irreverent. Written by his son after Spiegel had begun to succumb to dementia, the obituary captures the spirit of this sardonic professor, crossword puzzler, and perennially-disappointed sports fan.
The obituary has been shared so heavily on social media that it's been picked up by the Associated Press, NPR, newspapers in the U.K., and more. We like to think the Connecticut professor would have enjoyed the attention – and the praise that's being heaped upon him in the obit's Guest Book, from all over the world.
From Hong Kong: "I feel by reading this obituary, I have just met a one-in-a-million individual! Here's hoping this reaches around the globe and renews some faith in humanity. Many thanks to his family for sharing as you remember his life."
From Washington: "Oh, how I wish I had the opportunity and honor to be one of his students! What a wonderful obituary to an obviously interesting, humorous and learned man."
From South Africa: "Anyone who appreciates single malt whisky has to get my vote! I realised during a recent funeral of a friend (younger than I) that a lot of the 'Life Hereafter' is vested in the collective memories of those we touched while we were alive. And on that basis - through his son Jeff, Robert Spiegel has touched many many people around the world. This tribute to a remarkable man, who I never knew but would have been proud to have known, comes from Johannesburg, South Africa."
From Alabama: "I am truly sorry for you loss, but what a crazy sense of humor. I bet there was never a dull moment with him, always laughing."
From Quebec: "When someone takes the time to write an obituary like this one, it can only mean that this was a great man to have known... probably stubborn, had his opinions which he told everyone LOUD & CLEAR! I have never met or heard of him before his passing...my loss."