It’s tough to say goodbye to someone you love and it’s even harder to encapsulate a life well-lived in a few paragraphs. If you’ve ever had the honor of giving a eulogy or writing an obituary, you know how daunting it can be. The best you can do is to give a lost loved one a send-off that would make them proud. That’s what one man’s family did and they absolutely nailed it.
New Orleans firefighter William Ziegler may have passed away, but his life and legacy were hilariously (and thoughtfully) memorialized by his children. “He would have loved this,” his daughter told the Times-Picayune. “He probably would have forwarded this obituary to us.”
According to the now-viral obituary for their dad, Ziegler “escaped the mortal realm.” Ziegler’s kids began their recap of their beloved father’s life by noting his distinguished military service:
“William volunteered for service in the United States Navy at the ripe old age of 17 and immediately realized he didn’t much enjoy being bossed around. He only stuck it out for one war. Before his discharge, however, the government exchanged numerous ribbons and medals for various honorable acts.”
And then went on to “praise” his firefighting career:
“Upon his return to the City of New Orleans in 1971, thinking it best to keep an eye on him, government officials hired William as a fireman. After twenty-five years, he suddenly realized that running away from burning buildings made more sense than running toward them. He promptly retired. Looking back, William stated that there was no better group of morons and mental patients than those he had the privilege of serving with (except Bob, he never liked you, Bob).”
Ziegler, his children explained, wasn’t the mushy type:
“Following his wishes, there will not be a service, but well-wishers are encouraged to write a note of farewell on a Schaefer Light beer can and drink it in his honor. He was never one for sentiment or religiosity, but he wanted you to know that if he owes you a beer, and if you can find him in Heaven, he will gladly allow you to buy him another.”
But most importantly, he will be missed very much:
“He can likely be found forwarding tasteless internet jokes (check your spam folder, but don’t open these at work). Expect to find an alcoholic dog named Judge passed out at his feet. Unlike previous times, this is not a ploy to avoid creditors or old girlfriends. He assures us that he is gone. He will be greatly missed.”
People who had never even met William Ziegler were touched by the thought and compassion his kids put into this final homage:
That kind of consideration in a final farewell is a real tribute to the difference he made in people’s lives. Hopefully William Ziegler’s family has found a small bit of peace and maybe also some comfort knowing that their old man could make so many people laugh, one last time.