What Would You Put In Your Obituary

A Salt Lake City man knew he was dying and wrote his own obit­u­ary before he died.  It’s touch­ing, it’s sweet, it’s pro­found.  It’s also pretty funny that he used his obit­u­ary to make a few sur­pris­ing con­fes­sions.  What would you put in your obituary?

Val Pat­ter­son 1953 — 2012

I was Born in Salt Lake City, March 27th 1953. I died of Throat Can­cer on July 10th 2012. I went to six dif­fer­ent grade schools, then to Churchill, Sky­line and the U of U. I loved school, Salt Lake City, the moun­tains, Utah. I was a true Sci­en­tist. Elec­tron­ics, chem­istry, physics, auto mechanic, wood worker, artist, inven­tor, busi­ness man, rib­ald come­dian, hus­band, brother, son, cat lover, cynic. I had a lot of fun. It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great peo­ple. I thank you. I’ve had great joy liv­ing and play­ing with my dog, my cats and my parrot.

But, the one spe­cial thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friend­ship with my remark­able wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express. Every moment spent with my Mary Jane was time spent wisely. Over time, I became one with her, insep­a­ra­ble, happy, fulfilled.

I enjoyed one good life.

Trav­eled to every place on earth that I ever wanted to go.

Had every job that I wanted to have.

Learned all that I wanted to learn.

Fixed every­thing I wanted to fix.

Eaten every­thing I wanted to eat.

My life motto was: “Any­thing for a Laugh”.  Other mot­tos were “If you can break it, I can fix it”, “Don’t apply for a job, cre­ate one”.  I had three require­ments for seek­ing a great job; 1 — All glory, 2 — Top pay, 3 — No work.

Now that I have gone to my reward, I have con­fes­sions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What hap­pened was that the day I went to pay off my col­lege stu­dent loan at the U of U, the girl work­ing there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn’t even grad­u­ate, I only had about 3 years of col­lege credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the let­ters “PhD” even stood for. For all of the Elec­tronic Engi­neers I have worked with, I’m sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engi­neered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faith­ful work­ing again. To Dis­ney­land — you can now throw away that “Banned for Life” file you have on me, I’m not a prob­lem any­more — and Sea­World San Diego, too, if you read this.
To the gang: We grew up in the very best time to grow up in the his­tory of Amer­ica. The best music, mus­cle cars, cheap gas, fun kegs, buy­ing a car for “a buck a year” — before Salt Lake got ruined by over pop­u­la­tion and Lake Pow­ell was brand new. TV was bor­ing back then, so we went out­side and actu­ally had lives. We always tried to have as much fun as pos­si­ble with­out doing harm to any­body — we did a good job at that.
If you are try­ing to decide if you knew me, this might help… My father was RD “Dale” Pat­ter­son, older brother “Stan” Pat­ter­son, and sis­ter “Bunny” who died in a ter­ri­ble car wreck when she was a Junior at Sky­line. My mom “Ona” and brother “Don” are still alive and well. In col­lege I worked at Vaughns Conoco on 45th South and 29th East. Mary and I are the ones who worked in Saudi Ara­bia for 8 years when we were young. Mary Jane is now a Fit­ness Instruc­tor at Golds on Van Win­kle — you might be one of her stu­dents — see what a lucky guy I am? Yeah, no kid­ding.
My regret is that I felt invin­ci­ble when young and smoked cig­a­rettes when I knew they were bad for me. Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us grow­ing old together and laugh­ing at all the thou­sands of sim­ple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments. My pain is enor­mous, but it pales in com­par­i­son to watch­ing my wife feel my pain as she lov­ingly cares for and com­forts me. I feel such the “thief” now — for steal­ing so much from her — there is no pill I can take to erase that pain.
If you knew me or not, dear reader, I am happy you got this far into my let­ter. I speak as a per­son who had a great life to look back on. My fam­ily is fol­low­ing my wishes that I not have a funeral or bur­ial. If you knew me, remem­ber me in your own way. If you want to live for­ever, then don’t stop breath­ing, like I did.
A cel­e­bra­tion of life will be held on Sun­day, July 22nd from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Starks Funeral Par­lor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, casual dress is encour­aged.
Online con­do­lences may be offered and memo­r­ial video may be viewed at www.starksfuneral.com.


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