Terry Ward’s last laugh is preserved forever in his obituary.
Daughter Jean Lahm penned her ode to him with her tongue firmly in her cheek. Because that’s the way her 71-year-old dad lived his life.
“There was absolutely no other way to write it,” she told InsideEdition.com Monday. “He lived to make other people laugh. He was just a funny, funny guy.”
After Ward’s death last week in Indiana, Lahm began writing her dad’s obit, keeping its tone a secret. The first paragraph wasted no time getting right to the point.
Ward “escaped this mortal realm on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 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.”
Ward was preceded in death, his remembrance said, by his parents, a sister, a grandson, a brother and “a 1972 Rambler and a hip.”
Lahm said everyone loved it. “The people who knew him thought this was absolutely spot-on.”
Did anyone think it was in poor taste?
“No one was offended. Oh gosh, no.”
Her father was a combat veteran of the Vietnam War and spent his working career as a telephone lineman. He leaves seven grandchildren, ages 7 to 20; his wife of 48 years, Kathy; and two daughters.
He loved a great many things. Among them: The History Channel, Bed Bath & Beyond, Creedence Clearwater Revival, cold beer, free beer and old Buicks.
“He was a renowned distributor of Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to his grandchildren,” Lahm wrote, and put his nose in the air when offered “uppity foods” like hummus. When his family started calling it “bean dip,” he loved it.
He didn’t speak much about Vietnam, his daughter said. He was proud to serve his country, but “he didn’t talk about that a ton,” she said. “He was in combat. They just don’t talk about those experiences. I always imagined that the things he dealt with were pretty rough.”
He wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and his family is working to try to get his ashes interred there, Lahm said.
But levity was also the mood of his burial and visitation, she said.
“There was a lot of laughter,” she said. “We did him right. We have him a very good send off.”