My Favorite Send-off

There is quite a hub-bub in our town right now about an obituary written for a lady named Ruth Rencevicz. Ruth was a funny 81-year-old woman who died on Sept. 7 with specific instructions to her family to "keep it light" when it came to the business of her obituary.

Attempting to follow her wishes, her six children got together to collaborate on this tongue-in-cheek tribute to a mother who had spent her life making them laugh. If you log on to www.ohio.com and read Ruth's 16 guestbook pages, you will see that I wasn't the only one who loved this obit. Even Jack Black has left a comment.

RUTH E. (SECHRIST) RENCEVICZ Ruth E. Rencevicz (Sechrist) Ruth E. Rencevicz, born Ruth Elizabeth Sechrist on August 28, 1927, passed away on September 7, 2008 due to complications resulting from her children making her old before her time. (Ruth had a playful and irreverent outlook towards life, an attitude that she was fortunate enough to retain right up until the time of her death. This obituary is being written with that philosophy in mind. If you find this particular viewpoint offensive, then read no further. Instead, please take comfort in knowing that Ruth fought her leukemia courageously right up until the very end, and that she died peacefully in her sleep.)

Ruth passed away amongst the rich and famous in Greenwich, Conn. She is survived by brother, Clyde; sons, Wade, Bernard, Phil and Jon; daughters, Lisa and Sonya; grandchildren, Trevor, Grace, Casey and Sammy; an illegitimate child conceived when the circus was in town named Greg "The Donkey" King; her favorite dog, Lucy; and her favorite cat, Derrick.

Over the years, in addition to her regular jobs as a full-time mom and a switchboard operator at both Sears and BFG Federal Credit Union, Ruth also served her country as a covert spy for the Central Intelligence Agency, where during the Cold War she was largely responsible for the breakup of the Soviet Union near the end of the 20th century. At least, that's the way she told it.

Ruth was also very active as a volunteer with youth in her community in Tallmadge, Ohio, where she was known to selflessly give of her time by standing on her balcony yelling at kids for "playing that rap music" at all hours of the day and night. She also served as a mentor to young people by throwing rocks at teenagers dressed in loose baggy pants with their underwear exposed. She winged a couple of 'em pretty good, from what we understand.

Although born in Hammondsville, Ohio, Ruth enjoyed summering in Greenwich, Conn., where she loved drinking Fresca with Absolut Ruby Red vodka, and stalking Peter Jennings and Jack Black. Ruth reported being abducted by aliens several times during her life, and we don't mean the good kind of aliens who come from outer space. We're talking about illegal immigrant aliens from Mexico and West Virginia. Oddly, Ruth never really complained much about these kidnappings.

Ruth was adamant that people use the occasion of her passing to remember and celebrate her life. In lieu of formal funeral proceedings or viewing hours, she requested that those who remember and cared about her share both a special memory and a drink in her honor. Preferably Bud Light Lime, or if that's not available, gasoline or floor wax.

Published in the Akron Beacon Journal on 9/10/2008

Cheers to you and your funny family, Ruthie. Thanks for the gift of a laugh.

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