Indiana veteran leaves behind epic obituary

DEMOTTE, Ind. – A northwest Indiana woman decided the style of traditional obituaries didn’t quite fit her dad’s personality, so she wrote up one that did.

“He lived to make other people laugh…it was the only way to honor him properly,” said daughter, Jean Lahn, of Lowell.

Terry Ward moved to Demotte from suburban Illinois in 1973 after serving in the Vietnam War. The Army veteran wanted a quiet place in the country after participating in active combat.

During her work at Geisen Funeral Home, she has seen her fair share of stale obituaries, usually set up the the exact same way.

“I wrote it myself and I didn’t tell anyone I was going to make it funny,” Jean said.

After reading it, the rest of her family said it was perfect and shared many laughs.

Ward “escaped his mortal realm” on Tuesday after suffering a stroke. His daughter wants to thank all of the hospital staff at Southlake Methodist Hospital for caring for him for five days before he passed.

Highlights include, “He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.” and “Terry graduated from Thornridge High School in South Holland, IL, where only three of his teachers took an early retirement after having had him as a student.”

In lieu of flowers, the family says donations can be made at your favorite watering hole.

Read the full obituary below:

“Terry Wayne Ward, age 71, of DeMotte, IN, escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, leaving behind 32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Terry is survived by his overly-patient and accepting wife Kathy, who was the love of his life (a fact she gladly accepted sympathy for during their 48 years of marriage). He is also survived by daughters Rebecca (William) Hines and Jean (Jeff) Lahm; sister, Linda; brother, Phil; grandchildren: Alexander and Hannah Hines (The Mesopotamians), Daphne and Erin Pistello (The Daffer and Peanut), Brendan and Owen Lahm (Phineas and Ferb) and Tessa McMurry (Smiley).

He is preceded in death by his parents Paul and Bernice Ward, daughter Laura Pistello, grandson Vincent Pistello, a 1972 Rambler and a hip.

Terry graduated from Thornridge High School in South Holland, IL, where only three of his teachers took an early retirement after having had him as a student. He met the love of his life, Kathy, by telling her he was a lineman – he didn’t specify early on that he was a lineman for the phone company, not the NFL. Still, Kathy and Terry wed in the fall of 1969, perfectly between the Summer of Love and the Winter of Regret.

Terry volunteered his service in the United States Army and was an active combat Veteran in the Viet Nam War.

He retired from AT&T (formerly Ameritech, formerly formerly Indiana Bell) after 39 years of begrudging service, where he accumulated roughly 3,000 rolls of black electrical tape during the course of his career (which he used for everything from open wounds to “Don’t use this button” covers).

He enjoyed many, many things.  Among those things were hunting, fishing, golfing, snorkeling, ABBA, hiking Turkey Run, chopping wood, shooting guns, Bed Bath & Beyond, starlight mints, cold beer, free beer, The History Channel, CCR, war movies, discussing who makes the best pizza, The Chicago White Sox, old Buicks, and above all, his family.

He was a renowned distributor of popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to his grandchildren. He also turned on programs such as “Phineas and Ferb” for his grand-youngins, usually when they were actually there.

He despised “uppity foods” like hummus, which his family lovingly called “bean dip” for his benefit, which he loved consequently. He couldn’t give a damn about most material things, and automobiles were never to be purchased new. He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians.

Terry died knowing that The Blues Brothers was the best movie ever, (young) Clint Eastwood was the baddest-ass man on the planet, and hot sauce can be added to absolutely any food.

Tremendous and heartfelt thanks go to the truly exceptional nurses at Southlake Methodist Hospital Neuro-Intensive Care Unit, who provided much more than nursing care for Terry, but also provided a peaceful and compassionate environment during his transition from this life to the next.

Friends can visit with the family on Saturday, January 27, from Noon until the time of the Funeral Service at 4:00 PM, with Pastor Mark Wilkins officiating, at Geisen Funeral, Cremation & Receptions Centre, 606 E. 113th Ave., Crown Point, IN. Services will conclude at the funeral home.

Memorial donations in Terry’s name can be made to your favorite charity or your favorite watering hole, where you are instructed to tie a few on and tell a few stories of the great Terry Ward.”

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