Viral Obituaries: Morbid or Touching?

This week in Savannah, Georgia, the passing of William “Freddie” McCullough was announced in the local newspaper. His obituary, written by his son Mark, lacked the usual list of accomplishments and illnesses fought. Instead, the obituary was an unusual tribute which was as full of life as the man himself.

The portrait of Freddie resonated with the citizens of Savannah so much that they shared it with friends, family, and the internet, leading Freddie’s obituary to virality in just a couple short days. Reading through the obituary, it’s not surprising that people were so touched by the light-hearted story of a Southern man who was obviously dearly loved by his family.

“Freddie loved deep fried Southern food smothered in Cane Syrup, fishing at Santee Cooper Lake, Little Debbie Cakes, Two and a Half Men, beautiful women, Reeses Cups and Jim Beam. Not necessarily in that order. He hated vegetables and hypocrites. Not necessarily in that order,” Mark wrote of his deceased father.

Freddie’s obituary isn’t the first unconventional tribute to go viral, either. Along with William McCullough, Harry Stamps and Antonia Larroux have also achieved fame after death for the flippant remarks made in their obituaries by relatives with a cheeky sense of humor.

Many view these humorous obituaries as a bit disrespectful, and some say that the virality of what’s meant to be an announcement for friends and acquaintances is wrong and a bit morbid. For some individuals though, a bit of humor is the most fitting tribute to a person who spent their time on earth making others happy.

The author of the obituary, Mark McCullough, is a writer, filmmaker, and director. “Our dad was a unique and special guy” Mark said. “I wanted to do things differently to honor him with an obit that fit him.” He has certainly done so, and will continue to honor his father’s colorful memory with his planned TV show based on his dad’s adventures. If the show is as heart-warming as the obituary, there are certainly some Savannah natives who will be eager to tune in.

About the Author: This post was provided by Sarah Herring, a writer interested in all things Savannah and a contributing blogger for Presidents’ Quarters Inn.