Delaware "PopPop's" Self-Written Obit Goes Viral

By Dan Stamm
|  Thursday, Mar 13, 2014  |  Updated 10:15 PM EDT
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Walter "Walt" Bruhl, Jr.

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A Delaware grandfather “is now exploring the universe” but not before leaving his family with a pre-written obituary.

Walter (Walt) George Bruhl, Jr., a native of Newark & Dewey Beach, Del., died March 9 at the age of 81 in Punta Garda, Fla.

But, before he went, Walter left a gift for his descendants -- his own witty death notice.

“He drifted off this mortal coil… His spirit was released from his worn out shell of a body and is now exploring the universe," wrote Walt.

“There will be no viewing since his wife refuses to honor his request to have him standing in the corner of the room with a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand so that he would appear natural to visitors," he wrote. "Cremation will take place at the family’s convenience and his ashes will be kept in an urn until they get tired of having it around. What’s a Grecian Urn? Oh, about 200 drachmas a week."

Bruhl, who was born in Philadelphia on April 20, 1933, surprised his family with the eulogy.

“It was a complete surprise to me,” Bruhl’s grandson Sam told BuzzFeed. “I couldn’t help but cry and laugh hysterically through the whole thing.”

Sam uploaded the whole thing to Reddit and from there it took off. Since landing on the Internet, Walt’s obit has been read by tens of thousands of people.

“I knew immediately that it needed to be shared,” Sam told BuzzFeed. “People need those little bits of inspiration each day, and I know my PopPop would love to be that for people.”

Walt served as a U.S. Marine in the Korean War and then worked as an electronics apprentice at Philadelphia’s Naval Yard before carrying on a 31-year career with DuPont.

“…After 31 years with The Co., he was given a fine anniversary dinner and a token gift and then ‘downsized’ in Dec. of 1993. He was rehired as a contract employee in June of 1994, doing the same job that he had been ‘downsized’ from, and stayed until July of 1995."

A truncated (and edited) version of Walt’s ode to himself appeared on Delaware Online that focused more on Bruhl’s accomplishments and less on his musings.

The printed obit kept Walt’s own words at the end:

"Everyone who remembers him is asked to celebrate Walt's life in their own way, raising a glass of their favorite drink in his memory would be quite appropriate. Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name."

A memorial luncheon is planned for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Deerfield in Newark, Del.

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