JOE HELLER

The New York Times called it “The Best Obituary Ever”

JOE HELLER

January 24, 1937 – September 8, 2019

NOTE: When Joe Heller died at 82 on Sept. 8, his daughter Monique Heller wrote a paid obituary in the Hartford Courant on Sept. 10, 2019, describing her father’s inimitably irreverent and preposterous personality(Subheads added here.)

Excrement meatloaf sandwiches

Joe Heller made his last undignified and largely irreverent gesture on September 8, 2019, signing off on a life, in his words, “generally well-lived and with few regrets.” When the doctors confronted his daughters with the news last week that “your father is a very sick man,” in unison they replied, “you have no idea.”

God thankfully broke the mold after Joe was born to the late Joseph Heller, Sr. and Ruth Marion (Clock) on January 24, 1937 in New Haven, CT. Being born during the Depression shaped Joe’s formative years and resulted in a lifetime of frugality, hoarding and cheap mischief, often at the expense of others. Being the eldest was a dubious task but he was up for the challenge and led and tortured his siblings through a childhood of obnoxious pranks, with his brother, Bob, generally serving as his wingman. Pat, Dick and Kathy were often on the receiving end of such lessons as “Ding Dong, Dog….” and thwarting lunch thieves with laxative-laced chocolate cake and excrement meatloaf sandwiches.

Named his first dog “Fart”

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RYAN DOUGLAS REITMEYER

RYAN DOUGLAS REITMEYER

July 23, 1976 — September 1, 2019

An Incredible Will to Survive and Thrive

Ryan with parents, Debbie and Doug Reitmeyer.

On the morning of September 1, 2019, the world lost a young man who lit up every room he ever entered and brought a smile to the face of every person he ever met. Ryan Reitmeyer was an awesome and valued friend to hundreds, and he inspired thousands that knew of his challenges and how he so positively dealt with them every moment of his life.

Ryan had an incredible drive to succeed.  Barely surviving a 2005 boating accident that left him with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), he overcame inconceivable odds with the help of his family, friends, caretakers, medical experts and the use of advanced technologies from researchers around the world. A native Texan, he went on to live a vibrant, inspiring, activity-filled life for more than fourteen years.

Although Ryan suffered a fatal aneurysm and ultimately passed away at Seton Williamson County Medical Center on September 1st, his legacy lives on through his having proven the value of miraculous innovations that aided in his recovery. Several of these innovations are now providing hope and help for other TBI sufferers, including returning war veterans.

He was just forty-three.

Ryan’s will to not only survive but thrive characterized his life. He had an incredible ability to connect with people, a love of friends, good times and life on Lake Travis. One had only to visit his website to see hundreds of photos of Ryan, family and friends frolicking on weekends in and around Austin.

Quick to smile or sing a song

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SCOTT ERRITT SHY

SCOTT ERRITT SHY

October 1, 1990 to June 21, 2019

 Gone Too Soon

Still a young man.

Scott Erritt Shy—a highly decorated petty officer in the U.S. Navy, whose happy-go-lucky nature and dedication to service inspired everyone he knew—died suddenly while based at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, CA.

At just twenty-eight, he was gone too soon.

His future limitless, Scott was still a young man who loved Marvel movies, Harry Potter books, and his Batman watch. Perhaps due his fondness of military planes, he wanted to join the Navy and did so on April 27, 2010.

Call Sign “Bullet”

Attached to Striker Fighter Squadron TWO (VFA-2), also known as the “Bounty Hunters”, Scott found it amusing that the squadron’s call sign was “Bullet”, a unit made up of a wide array of aircraft performing a variety of combat and support missions that deploy aboard the USS Carl Vinson. He was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class (AW), one who amassed accommodations in his short career and was quickly promoted.

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Marilyn Ann Rosenthal

MARILYN ANN ROSENTHAL

January 5, 1928 to December 23, 2018

Full of grace and kindness

A genuine dynamo!

Studious, passionate, full of grace and kindness, Marilyn Ann Rosenthal—a devoted  mom and enthusiastic teacher who fostered her students’ character as well as their intellect—passed away of natural causes in Colorado Springs, CO, on December 23, 2018, her children at her side. She was 90-years old.

Marilyn’s temperament was the quality that differentiated her from most. A quote by John Wesley, an 18th Century English cleric, exemplifies her life: “Do all the good that you can, by all of the means that you can, in all of the places that you can, at all of the times that you can as long as ever you can.”

Marilyn’s parents, Glenn and Esther Fithian

Few knew what a skilled musician she was, how superbly she played the piano—except, that is, for the pet parakeet that sat on her shoulder, an image her family treasures.

Raised with strong mid-western values

One of five children of Glenn Fithian Sr, a farmer, and Esther (Skavdahl) Fithian, a teacher, Marilyn was born on January 5, 1928, in North Platte, Nebraska. Raised with strong mid-western values in a loving, rambunctious family that included two brothers and two sisters, she sensed her calling early and moved to Fort Collins, CO, where she entered Colorado State University (CSU), graduating, in 1947, with honors and a BA in Sociology and Education.

At 5-feet-5, Marilyn had beautiful, soft brown hair and smiling blue eyes. Gregarious and full of fun, she was never without a smile on her face. One can easily imagine her as a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority girl sought after by all the boys.

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BENNIE CARTER JR.

BENNIE CARTER JR.

February 13, 1940 to January 26, 2019

A born teacher

Bennie Carter, Jr—a man whose life revolved around teaching and family—passed away of congestive heart failure at Loyola Hospital, in Maywood, IL,  on Tuesday, January 26, his beloved wife of 46 years, Josie, daughter Ericka, and grandson Xavier by his side. He was seventy-eight.

A resident of Forest Park, IL, Bennie had a passion for teaching, sports, and fundraising for his alma mater, West Virginia State University. A member of the Chicago Board of Education for 34 years, he taught high-school biology, his profession until he retired in 2005. He also taught classes to inmates at Cook County Jail for ten years.

A love of learning

Bennie’s love of learning was instilled in his only child, Ericka, who says her dad “believed in education and encouraged me to get my degrees. He supported me in whatever I did.”

One of three sons, Bennie was born February 13, 1940, in St. Petersburg, FL, to Bennie Carter Sr. and Alice Griffin Carter. He and his brothers, Clarence and Ronald, grew up in a loving, rambunctious family in the town where Bennie came into the world. He later said that St. Petersburg was “the best city ever.”

After graduating from Gibbs High School, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and West Virginia State University, in Charleston, going on to earn a “Master’s in Education plus 40 hours,” as he liked to brag, from Governors State University in Chicago.

After joining the U.S. Army, he spent two years as a special intelligence officer, including one year in Frankfurt, Germany. Bennie married the girl of his dreams, Josie, on April 26, 1973.

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