Obituaries are supposed to provide a concise, final snapshot of a person’s life. It usually includes relatives and loved ones left behind, and sometimes a description of the deceased’s occupation or interests. Things are kept short and sweet.
But now that folks can post obits on the internet rather than pay a local paper for costly ad space, they have begun to wax on a bit more eloquently when it comes to their remembered loved ones.
Take this year’s obituary for Iowa native, Tim Schrandt. It was penned by the Schluter Balik Funeral home and, boy howdy, did they go into detail. Based on the content, though, it sounds like Tim would have signed off on it. . . after adding a few choice swear words, of course.
“Tim Schrandt, age 63, of Spillville, IA died on Friday, March 29, 2019 at Gundersen Health System in LaCrosse, WI after a short battle with cancer.”
“A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Spillville with Deacon Pat Malanaphy presiding, burial will be in the church cemetery with full military rites.
“Visitation will be from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 at the St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Spillville and also after 10:00 a.m. at the Church on Thursday morning.
“Tim Schrandt (Lynyrd) made his last inappropriate comment on March 29, 2019. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn’t -because you WOULD remember. For those of you that did meet him, we apologize, as we’re sure he probably offended you. He was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is.”
Clearly, Tim was not one to mince words or even use particularly kind ones, but you know any obituary that begins with an apology for the deceased’s numerous offensive actions is probably ramping up to something special.
“Tim was born to William (Bill) Schrandt and Mary (Schrandt) Manning on June 11, 1955 – 100 years too late. Given Tim’s demeanor, he would have been the perfect weathered cowboy in the old west or rough and tough pioneer, or maybe he just should have been Amish.
“Tim was the 4th of 8 kids, the bottom rung of the top tier (the big kids). Instead of taking his place on that rung, listening to the older kids and doing as he was told by his older siblings, he decided to anoint himself “king” of the 4 little kids. Tim spent his childhood and early adulthood ordering them around and in general, tormenting them. He was a great orator, (not like Shakespeare, but more like Yogi Berra), as he always had something to say, and always had to get in the last word.”
It went on to describe Tim’s infamy, which clearly started at birth. Not only did he rule over his younger siblings with an iron fist, but he used that very same fist to take a swing at a nun. . . a NUN, you guys.
“His position as ‘king’ and orator was challenged by the nuns at St. Wenceslaus school in Spillville. He may have met his match. We’re not saying the nuns won, but they put up a good fight, we mean literally – he got into a fist-a-cuff with a nun. In fairness, she probably started it. You didn’t take a swing at Tim and not expect one back. Tim’s fondness for authority (his own – not others) followed him to South Winneshiek High School in Calmar and later into the Army. This provided for many interesting episodes and stories, detentions and demotions, and a few “run-ins” with the law, not just locally, but globally.
“Tim worked at Camcar/Stanley Black and Decker in Decorah as a tool and die maker for 30 plus years. Tim worked with many friends and ‘a bunch of morons’. His words, not ours. Well, not exactly his words because that would have included a bunch of swear words.”
The obit goes on to describe the “hell of a lot of stuff” Tim left behind that nobody, not even his surprisingly large and well-mannered family, would ever want.
“Tim leaves behind a hell of a lot of stuff that his family doesn’t know what to do with. So, if you are looking for a Virgin Mary in a bathtub shrine (you Catholics know what we’re talking about) you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch with them. Tomorrow would be fine.
“In addition to his stuff, he leaves behind two great boys who he was extremely proud of: Cody (Jenny) Schrandt and Josh (Lydia) Schrandt were the product of his marriage to Crystal Hilmer. He will be missed by his two granddaughters that he adored and taught to cuss, Peyton and MacKenna. Also left to keep the stories alive (but damn, there won”t be any new material) are his mother Mary Manning and siblings Mike (Rita Dixon) Schrandt, Marty (Clint) Berg, Becky Schrandt-Miles, Bill (Grease) Schrandt, Pam (Rick) Barnes, Peter (Sandra) Schrandt and many nieces, nephews and cousins that wanted to hang out near him, because you just knew he was going to say or do something good. It’s not that he was such a great storyteller, it’s that he WAS the story!
“To his siblings’ amazement, he was actually able to snag a good woman, Cheryl Murray, and hold on to her for the past 13 years, and as far as we know restraints were not used. Tim also created great memories and stories for Cheryl’s kids Alex (Christina) Murray and Samantha (Evan) Luedking and grandkids Tatum and Grace.”
The author then describes how Tim’s family members who went before him would probably be happy to see him considering he was the one known for bringing the beer to family gatherings.
“He will be having a reunion with his infant daughter Ashley, his brother Duke, his dad Bill Schrandt, many aunts and uncles and a handful of cousins that passed before him. Tim was in charge of getting the beer and ice for our family reunions, so they will be happy to see him.
“A common line in obituaries is ‘He never met a stranger,’ in Tim’s case he never met a rule he couldn’t break, a boundary he couldn’t push, a line he couldn’t cross and a story he couldn’t stretch. Another common obituary phrase is ‘He’d give the shirt off his back,’ well Tim was prepared to do that, and he could do it quickly, because he always wore his shirts
unbuttoned ¾ the way down. Tim was anything but common!
“Despite his crusty exterior, cutting remarks and stubbornness, there is actual evidence that he was a loving, giving and caring person. That evidence is the deep sorrow and pain in our hearts that his family feels from his passing.”
And even in death, Tim would have refused to admit defeat.
“Tim led a good life and had a peaceful death – but the transition was a bitch. And for the record, he did not lose his battle with cancer. When he died, the cancer died, so technically it was a tie! He was ready to meet his Maker, we’re just not sure ‘The Maker’ is ready to meet Tim.
“Good luck God!”
Finally, the obituary ends by acknowledging the ones who are really grieving Tim’s death: the brewers of Tim’s favorite beer.
“We are considering establishing a Go-Fund-Me account for G. Heileman Brewing Co., the brewers of Old Style beer, as we anticipate they are about to experience significant hardship as a result of the loss of Tim’s business. Keep them in your thoughts.”
Rest in peace, Tim Schrandt. We’re not sure if you actually would have appreciated internet virality, but your legend and infamy seem to be growing even larger in death than it did in life.