This 82-Year-Old’s Obituary Is So Savage That It Left Her Son Speechless

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A few months after Cornelia June Rogers Miller died, an obituary for her appeared in a North Carolina newspaper. And while that by itself was nothing really out of the ordinary, this particular tribute to the deceased ended up making waves for its brutal honesty. Yes, the notice didn’t hold back in its scathing take-down of the 82-year-old – and it seriously upset the late great-grandmother’s son as a result.

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From the basic facts of Miller’s life, though, you may never realize what she had apparently done to warrant such harsh treatment. June – as Miller preferred to be known – entered the world in the Mississippi city of Morton in 1934, although she later settled in Gainesville, Florida. Then, after that, she relocated to High Springs, FL, alongside her husband, Robert, and their son, Robert Jr., where it appears she lived out the rest of her days.

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Apart from June’s husband and son, her immediate family also consisted of daughters Suzanne Amos and Marilyn Miller. Through them and Robert Jr., June would gain a total of nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren – all born within her lifetime. At the time of her death, another two great-grandkids were also on the way.

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But although June had chosen Florida as her home, it appears that she and her husband had had a long-running love affair with North Carolina. At the very least, the couple had a summer home in the town of Murphy in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and they are said to have visited the location whenever they could.

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In 2017 Robert Jr. told News Channel 9, “Once my father retired, [he and my mom] would go up to Murphy pretty much whenever they liked to. They would go for a weekend in the winter.” When June and Robert Sr. sold their beloved retreat in 2016, though, those times came to an end.

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By that point, the six and a half-hour drive between High Springs and Murphy was proving too arduous for June and Robert Sr. The health of each was, it seems, not as good as it had once been. Then, finally, the couple moved together into an assisted living facility, where they shared a room.

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But the couple were separated for good in February 2017 when June sadly lost her life. Along with her extended family, the wife and mother left behind her husband, who was four years her senior. And explaining the cause of his mother’s death, Robert Jr. told News Channel 9, “She was 82 years old, I believe, so she had a variety of complications.”

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Yet while it’s not exactly clear how the Miller family coped in the months following June’s passing, it can’t have helped those grieving for the matriarch when a truly savage obituary subsequently appeared in the Cherokee Scout. That’s one of the local North Carolina newspapers, and it’s based in the couple’s beloved Murphy.

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Put simply, an obituary is a news article or notice that declares the death of an individual. Often, it features some details about the major aspects of that person’s life – the family members they have left behind, for example, or a small summary of their greatest achievements. And, usually, an obit will also provide the details of any funeral held on behalf of the deceased.

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In many cases, too, an obituary is written by someone who was close to the person who has died. The notice is then typically published by a local newspaper in order to inform the wider community of the individual in question’s passing. And, frequently, such a tribute aims to give others a flavor of the deceased’s life, detailing what was important to them.

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Furthermore, since an obituary can serve as a lasting written eulogy, a family may feel it important to give some sense of their loved one’s nature in their tribute. Relatives may also deem it necessary to express their sorrow at the death or even give thanks for the time that they had together with the deceased.

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And owing to their often heartfelt content, obituaries often make for emotional reading. A good obituary can even give readers an insight into an individual’s life and an idea of their character – even if the person being written about had been a total stranger.

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As you may know, then, an obit tends to focus on the positive aspects of a person’s life – maybe even giving a glowing synopsis of their time on Earth. And with that in mind, June’s obituary rather stood out from the crowd when it appeared in the Cherokee Scout. That wasn’t down to the tribute being exceptionally kind, mind you; in fact, it was quite the opposite.

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And after the scathing announcement hit the press, it left June’s son feeling very upset. Indeed, during his conversation with News Channel 9, Robert Jr. expressed his dismay with the obit, saying, “The whole thing is just sad.” But while it’s not publicly known who was responsible for the terrible tribute, Robert Jr. believed that the obituary had come from someone close to his mother – and probably either Suzanne or Marilyn.

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As June’s devastated son told News Channel 9, “It’s unbelievable that my sisters would write this. It’s really sad that they don’t have anything better to do.” However, despite Robert Jr.’s finger-pointing, the mystery surrounding the obituary only deepened when one of his sisters denied that they were responsible for its publication.

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The obit in question begins ordinarily enough, citing June’s full name and her birthday as well as her hometown. It also gives the day on which she had died as February 23, 2017. And while that date may have been accurate, it nevertheless hinted at something rather unusual. You see, it appeared that June had passed away a whole four months before the notice had appeared in the Cherokee Scout.

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Then, after the seemingly innocuous intro, June’s obituary continued in a familiar way, detailing the circumstances surrounding her death and stating that she had passed “after a long battle with drug addiction and depression.” After that, there was some information on the places where June had lived, alongside a mention of Murphy – where, the obit said, the deceased had “spent summers.”

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Next up, there were some details regarding June’s family situation, with her three children, Robert Jr., Suzanne and Marilyn all mentioned. And the seemingly touching next line read, “Each child had three children, brighter and more attractive than the generation before them. All nine are a testimony to a life well lived.”

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However, as the obituary went on, things took a savage turn. You see, while the notice acknowledged that June had helped produce a family, it also suggested that she hadn’t found joy in those relatives. One brutal extract reads, “We are thankful for the life that was issued forth because of June. We wish she could have appreciated the abundance of life she was given.”

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And the harsh tone of the obituary only seemed to escalate from there. One line even claimed that June had “made no contribution to society and [had] rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life.” The so-called tribute also alleged of the late woman, “Drugs were a major love in her life, as June had no hobbies.”

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What’s more, the obit’s writer stated that June’s life should serve as a “cautionary tale” to others of how not to behave. Apparently alluding to the matriarch’s personality and habits, the notice continued, “Addiction and hatred are no es bueno for the living.” And the scathing summary of June’s 82 years on the planet didn’t end there.

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The obituary then claimed that June’s passing had little effect on her loved ones. One cutting extract reads, “We speak for the majority of her family when we say her presence will not be missed by many. Very few tears will be shed, [and] there will be no lamenting over her passing.”

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But despite the negative portrayal of June in the notice, the writer did make an admission that the deceased would be thought about on occasion. The obituary went on, “Her family will remember June. And among ourselves, we will remember her in our own way, which [include] mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years.”

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The biting obit continued, “We may have some fond memories of [June]. And perhaps we will think of those times, too. But we truly believe at the end of the day all of us will really only miss what we never had: a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. We hope she is finally at peace.”

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Towards the end of the obituary, it’s claimed that June’s death may even have a positive effect on her family. Poignantly, it says, “As for the rest of us left behind, we hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.” But the tribute also suggested that the matriarch’s relatives wouldn’t get together in the wake of her death.

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The obituary finished by claiming, “There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family [June] spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together, in the end, to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. Her legacy is written. So, we say here for all of us, ‘Goodbye, Mom.’”

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And after the cutting notice appeared in the Cherokee Scout, its contents perhaps unsurprisingly divided opinions among readers. News 13 reporter Stephanie Santostasi also went on to share an image of June’s obituary on Twitter, where she asked for her followers’ thoughts. And the reactions to those scornful words were in fact more varied than you may assume.

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Naturally, many people were horrified about the sour nature of June’s obituary, and this prompted one Twitter user to comment, “Even if true, it’s so wrong, unkind [and] just plain mean. I don’t believe it. RIP, June.” Another person simply wrote in response, “How freaking sad.”

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Elsewhere, though, others appeared to empathize with the person behind the less-than-gracious obit. One tweeted, for instance, “Don’t know them, don’t know her, don’t know what happened in their lives, but I am going to guess this was very cathartic for someone.” A further commenter wrote, “I can think of a few people like this. Sometimes, people will not be missed. Sometimes, that’s okay.”

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Given the attention that June’s obituary received, then, David Brown, the newspaper’s publisher, subsequently chose to defend the Cherokee Scout’s decision to print the tribute. And although Brown wouldn’t disclose who had actually written the scathing notice, he did admit that that “the family’s will [had overridden] the editor” when it came to publishing the controversial piece.

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In addition, Brown revealed that while staff at the Cherokee Scout do read each obituary before publishing, they would only edit something if they felt it was absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, in a bid to redress any damage created by the notice, Robert Jr. revealed that he was submitting a new tribute to his mom for publication.

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Most pressingly, Robert Jr. wished for June to be remembered as a kind and affectionate person. June’s son did not want all the special times that his mother and father had experienced in Murphy to be tainted by the brutal obituary, either. And, in all likelihood, he may have hoped that his new tribute would serve to rectify things.

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With an alternative notice for June in the making, then, it seemed that the Miller family’s ordeal was over. However, that’s when the plot thickened. You see, it emerged that the scathing tribute to the matriarch had seemingly been copied in part from a 2008 death notice in a northern Californian newspaper.

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And after Robert Jr. learned that his mother’s obituary had been copied from elsewhere, he stuck by his belief that one of his sisters was responsible. He told Channel 9 News, “Unbelievable. [She] doesn’t even have the integrity to write something for herself. [She] just goes out and steals something… When I first read it, I had a weird suspicion that it didn’t sound like her.”

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The original obituary, which had appeared in Vallejo’s Times-Herald, announced the passing of Dolores Aguilar. And when the notice passed over editor Ted Vollmer’s desk, it sure caught his attention. In 2017 he told News Channel 9, “I had edited probably thousands of obituaries up to that point and had written a lot myself… When this one came in, my eyebrows shot up.”

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And Dolores’ and June’s obituaries contained a lot of similar material; much of the content of both read exactly the same word for word, in fact. In essence, then, it appeared that swathes of the text of June’s obit had simply been lifted from the earlier tribute and used wholesale. But the question as to who would do such a thing remained.

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Mind you, Ted hadn’t just allowed Dolores’ obituary to be published. Instead, prior to the write-up hitting the presses, he had demanded evidence to confirm that it had indeed had come from her family. The editor told News Channel 9, “I asked [the relatives] for a copy of the death certificate or some proof of who [Dolores] was.” And it seems that one of Dolores’ six daughters was subsequently able to authenticate the notice.

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It’s not clear if June’s scathing obituary underwent a similar authentication process at the Cherokee Scout. When staff learned that the tribute had been plagiarized, however, they did consider removing it from the newspaper’s website. And although the employees deliberated for a little while, a final decision was ultimately made: the controversial notice was taken down from the internet.

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As it turned out, though, there were further similarities between June’s and Dolores’ obituaries than just those identical words. For one, the recounting of Dolores’ life had also caused a stir upon publication. And, as had been the case with June’s obit, one of Dolores’ relatives had also felt that the death notice was too harsh. Ted therefore permitted the late woman’s granddaughter to publish a new announcement – one revealing how her view of her grandmother differed from that portrayed in the first obituary.

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The Cherokee Scout made a similar offer to Robert Jr., who had his own tribute to his mother published free of charge. News Channel 9 later revealed that his obituary described June as “a devoted military wife and homemaker” who “made a wicked lemon pound cake.” And, hopefully, it gave her son some comfort to finally put his side of the story forward.

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Perhaps surprisingly, though, June and Dolores’ obits aren’t the only ones to have gained attention for their less-than-glowing portrayal of their subjects. After a man from Iowa passed away in March 2019, for instance, the words that were written about him were so scathing that they soon went viral. And you’ll be stunned to learn who penned them, too.

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When Tim Schrandt died, his sister Pam Kopriva-Barnes saw an opportunity to tell the world what her brother was really like in his obituary. And it’s safe to say that she didn’t hold back, either. Yes, while it appeared that Kopriva-Barnes’ sibling was known for his sharp tongue, her tribute to her brother definitely gave Schrandt a run for his money.

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As many know, an obituary is chiefly a piece of writing that reports on the passing of a person. Sometimes this notice may contain details of the deceased’s life and achievements; alternatively, it may simply announce the death or outline funeral arrangements. Traditionally, obituaries appeared in newspapers – and the longer the entry, the more important the person tended to be.

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And in the past, newspaper reporters would typically research and write obituaries themselves. It has become more common over the years, however, for families to pen their own tributes to lost loved ones. Their heartfelt words are then usually distributed either in print or – as is becoming increasingly the case – online.

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Often an obituary will acknowledge the death of an individual and express pain for their passing while also celebrating the joy that person created during their lifetime. The notice may additionally detail the achievements of the dearly departed in both their personal and professional lives.

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And some consider obituaries as a lasting legacy – an artifact that people will look back on in years to come in order to gauge the deceased’s life. Perhaps as a result, then, some now prefer to write their own obituaries. That way, they may feel as though they’ve had the final say.

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But if another decides to sum up your existence, the results may not be flattering. And one notable individual who was given the dubious honor of seeing his obituary before the end of his life was Alfred Nobel. When the dynamite inventor’s brother died in 1888, you see, the press accidentally published notices erroneously proclaiming Nobel’s passing. What’s more, in a particularly scathing report, the Swedish chemist was described as a “merchant of death.”

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Nobel was distressed to realize that he would largely be remembered for the loss of life that had been caused as a result of his invention. Consequently, he founded the Nobel Prizes – awards that are handed out in the fields of literature, chemistry, physics, medicine and peace. It was Nobel’s intention, moreover, to honor actions that had been of “the greatest benefit to mankind.”

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So, in putting his name to something positive, Nobel was able to change his legacy for the better. And perhaps more of us would reconsider the paths that our lives have taken if we pondered the lasting impact they may have long after we’ve departed. After all, not many would like to be the subject of a totally savage obituary.

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And Tim Schrandt certainly received a death notice that strayed from the ordinary platitudes. The resident of Spillville, Iowa, had passed away in March 2019 after being diagnosed with cancer. As his sister Pam Kopriva-Barnes’ candid final tribute attests, though, while Schrandt may now be gone, it will likely be a very long time before the colorful character is forgotten.

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To begin with, Schrandt entered the world in June 1955. He was the fourth out of eight children to parents Bill and Mary and attended St. Wenceslaus, a Catholic school in his hometown. Then, after graduating from South Winneshiek High School in nearby Calmar, Schrandt decided to join the Army.

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And following his time in the military, Schrandt spent more than three decades making tools and dies as his profession. He also married Crystal Hilmer, with whom he had two sons: Cody and Josh. Then, after ultimately splitting from his boys’ mom, Schrandt went on to have a 13-year relationship with a woman named Cheryl Murray.

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Through Murray, Schrandt became a stepfather and eventual step-grandfather. He also had two granddaughters through his biological children – adding to an already large family that included many siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins. But despite the size of Schrandt’s clan, it seems that the man marked himself out as a figurehead.

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Naturally, then, those close to Schrandt felt his untimely passing acutely. The 63-year-old had received a diagnosis of an aggressive kind of cancer in early March, and tragically he would not see the month out. However, throughout his time with the disease, Schrandt often had his family by his side.

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And even as Schrandt’s illness progressed, his unique personality shone through. He still apparently wore his shirts mostly unbuttoned in his signature style, for example. He is also said to have refused to quit smoking and continued to curse liberally. In all, Schrandt simply refused to let cancer rob him of his character – something Kopriva-Barnes happened to notice.

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So, during the evening of one of the final days of Schrandt’s life, Kopriva-Barnes was finding it impossible to get off to sleep. Consequently, she sat down and began penning an obituary for her brother that aimed to encapsulate Schrandt’s nonchalant attitude and tendency towards cantankerousness. And the result was decidedly hilarious.

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Announcing her brother’s death in his obituary, Kopriva-Barnes wrote, “Tim Schrandt made his last inappropriate comment on March 29, 2019. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn’t – because you WOULD remember. For those of you that did meet him,” she added, “we apologize, as we’re sure he probably offended you.”

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Kopriva-Barnes went on to say that Schrandt was “world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is.” And she proceeded to give some examples of her brother’s devil-may-care approach to life. These included one memorable moment from his childhood when he came to blows with one of the nuns at St. Wenceslaus.

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Referring to the incident in Schrandt’s obituary, Kopriva-Barnes revealed, “He got into [fisticuffs] with a nun. In fairness, she probably started it. You didn’t take a swing at Tim and not expect one back.” And from the sister’s account of her sibling, it appeared that a disregard for the rules was a common thread in the rich tapestry of Schrandt’s life.

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As Kopriva-Barnes revealed, “Tim’s fondness for authority – his own, not others – followed him to South Winneshiek High School in Calmar and later into the Army. This provided for many interesting episodes and stories, detentions and demotions and a few ‘run-ins’ with the law – not just locally, but globally.”

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And while it may appear that Schrandt had settled down somewhat upon establishing himself as a tool and die maker, he seemingly wasn’t particularly fond of some of his colleagues. “Tim worked with many friends and ‘a bunch of morons.’ His words, not ours,” his obituary reads.

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That said, it wasn’t just Schrandt’s attitude that made him a maverick. Kopriva-Barnes revealed, “Tim leaves behind a hell of a lot of stuff that his family doesn’t know what to do with. So, if you are looking for a Virgin Mary in a bathtub shrine – you Catholics know what we’re talking about – you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch with them.”

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However, while Kopriva-Barnes’ tribute to her brother apparently showed that a sense of humor ran in the family, there were also tender moments in the obituary. For instance, Kopriva-Barnes recalled how her brother had relished in his self-appointed position as “king” of his younger siblings – her included. “Tim spent his childhood and early adulthood ordering them around and, in general, tormenting them,” she wrote.

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And in Schrandt’s obituary, Kopriva-Barnes went on to pay tribute to her brother’s “two great boys, who he was extremely proud of.” She added, “He will be missed by his two granddaughters that he adored and taught to cuss.” There was regret, too, that the wider family wouldn’t have “any new material” after “great orator” Schrandt had passed.

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Indeed, according to his obituary, Schrandt was often the center of attention. “Many [relatives] wanted to hang out near him because you just knew he was going to say or do something good. It’s not that he was such a great storyteller, it’s that he WAS the story,” it read. Still, Kopriva-Barnes promised that her brother’s legacy would be kept alive by those whom he had left behind.

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What’s more, Schrandt’s sister suggested that he had now gone to a big party in the sky. “[Schrandt] will be having a reunion with his infant daughter, Ashley, his brother Duke, his dad, Bill Schrandt, many aunts and uncles and a handful of cousins that passed before him. Tim was in charge of getting the beer and ice for our family reunions, so they will be happy to see him,” his obituary read.

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And in wrapping up her tribute, Kopriva-Barnes confirmed that Schrandt would be remembered to those who knew him as an eternal rebel. “A common line in obituaries is, ‘He never met a stranger.’ In Tim’s case he never met a rule he couldn’t break, a boundary he couldn’t push, a line he couldn’t cross and a story he couldn’t stretch,” she wrote.

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In a sweet tribute to Schrandt, the obit continued, “Tim was anything but common! Despite his crusty exterior, cutting remarks and stubbornness, there is actual evidence that he was a loving, giving and caring person. That evidence is the deep sorrow and pain in our hearts that his family feels from his passing.”

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Speaking of Schrandt’s final days, Kopriva-Barnes added, “Tim led a good life and had a peaceful death – but the transition was a bitch. And for the record, he did not lose his battle with cancer. When he died, the cancer died. So, technically, it was a tie! He was ready to meet his maker; we’re just not sure ‘The Maker’ is ready to meet Tim.”

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Then, finally, the obituary came to a close by mentioning something close to Schrandt’s heart: booze. The final paragraph read, “We are considering establishing a GoFundMe account for G. Heileman Brewing Co., the brewers of Old Style beer, as we anticipate they are about to experience significant hardship as a result of the loss of Tim’s business. Keep them in your thoughts.”

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So, while the obituary may have been unconventional, its irreverence seemingly summed up Schrandt perfectly. Kopriva-Barnes apparently thought as much, anyway. Indeed, in April 2019 she told City Pages that sending her brother off with a traditional tribute would have been akin to “burying him in a suit.” This, for the record, the family didn’t do.

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Instead, Schrandt went to his final resting place in St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church’s graveyard wearing his usual choice of a “western shirt” and jeans. And while his family refrained from unbuttoning the shirt owing to the previous medical procedures that he’d had to his chest, they did still inter him with a bottle of Old Style beer for the road.

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Later, Kopriva-Barnes revealed that she had been writing Schrandt’s obituary at the exact moment his life had ended. She had been so engrossed in her endeavors, in fact, that she had failed to see a text she’d received informing her of her brother’s passing. “It was therapeutic to me to write [the obituary],” she explained to City Pages, before adding – in her signature wit – “It was like a dump, if you will.”

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And prior to writing her brother’s tribute, Kopriva-Barnes had often read obituaries – although she had been largely unimpressed by how spiritless they usually were. “You might as well go to the courthouse,” she told City Pages. Perhaps this goes some way to explaining, then, why Schrandt’s obituary has proved so popular.

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Yes, since Kopriva-Barnes’ words for her brother appeared on the Schluter-Balik Funeral Home website in March 2019, they have been shared far and wide. And the tribute has garnered considerable acclaim, too; it has since been described, for one, as “possibly the best obituary ever written.” Schrandt, by contrast, was labeled “the orneriest man in Iowa” by the Des Moines Register.

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In addition, the guestbook for Schrandt on the Schluter-Balik Funeral Home website has subsequently received reams and reams of comments from across the United States. Nor does the influence of the obituary end there, as it has even provoked responses from as far afield as Australia and the United Kingdom.

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On the page, someone who clearly knew Schrandt wrote, “Tim was larger than life. He lived life on his terms. You either jumped on for the ride, or he run you over. He was one of those people that you rarely meet in life but also will never forget… Farewell, my friend, you will be missed.”

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Yet Schrandt’s obituary also seemingly touched strangers. Thanks to Kopriva-Barnes’ colorful account, you see, the Iowa man’s maverick spirit jumped off the page. “I never heard of [Schrandt], nor did I ever meet him. But I know I would have loved him! In fact, I think I actually do,” wrote one such commenter.

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Speaking of Schrandt, another person said, “He sounds like a great guy! How lucky you all were to have him in your lives… I can only hope that when I go, someone loves me enough to write an obit or eulogy like this about me. It will have to be tweaked to fit me, of course, but I would love it! God bless him, and what a hoot he will be in heaven!”

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And even in his death, Schrandt had managed to be a motivator. “Now that’s how to live life,” a further commenter wrote. “Bold, full throttle, with gusto and no apologies! Tim inspires me to return to my former ways of living the same… before I insanely allowed the world to beat me down but not out! If there is a heaven, I am sure it is in full-party swing with Tim’s arrival. Rock on, Tim!”

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Judging by his obituary, then, it seemed as though Schrandt had lived life on his terms and had provided no apology for it. And thanks to his sister’s heartfelt tribute, his attitude had made him a viral sensation. This was a turn of events that Kopriva-Barnes found funny, however, as in true Schrandt fashion, her brother had thought that social media was stupid. In fact, she added, he’d have seen all the attention he was getting as an epic waste of time.

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