OLD LYME, CT (WFSB) – Rarely is writing the obituary of a loved one a pleasant task.
It wasn’t necessarily that for one woman in Essex, but this labor of love introduced the world to a beloved local treasure.
“I was writing it kind of as a memoir of my father. His local friends could relate and say, ‘oh, that was a Joe story,’” said Monique Heller.
Those stories about Joe, written with his daughter Monique’s expertise, have exploded.
His laxative pranks, shopping at the dump, and background checks on his daughter’s boyfriends all became part of this obituary that has now gone viral.
“We always called him the informal mayor of Essex because he never went somewhere where he didn’t know someone,” Heller said.
Heller said she gave her dad a little bit of his own humorous medicine because she says he could give and receive with the best of them.
“Yes, my dad was known for his thriftiness around town. He was a frequent shopper at the Essex dump,” Heller said.
Her said her dad was very patriotic, a Seabee in the Navy. In the obituary, she wrote about a Seabee scholarship fund that is now seeing a big benefit from Joe.
“It is turning into a fundraiser for the Seabees Organization. I think I’ve struck a universal chord,” Heller said.
The obituary is longer than most, but a joyous read.
“Consistently, people are saying to me, ‘thank you for sharing your dad with us. We wish we had known your dad, he sounds like my kind of guy,’” Heller said.
Joe’s enjoyable life was revered in his community and now, through the marvelous story weaving of his daughter, the outside world is getting an inside peek at a wonderful man.
“I had no idea that this obituary would be getting all these tweets and Facebook requests from across the world,” Heller said.
Joe’s obituary is receiving comments from people all over the country, just wishing they could have met this “one of a kind” man.
To read the full obituary, click here.