Most newspaper obituaries adhere to one of a handful of set formulas that incorporate listing the name of the deceased, date of passing, predeceasing and surviving relatives, and where and when services will be held. Some deviate from this standard by providing additional information about the departed, information that is almost always of a laudatory nature. However, every now and again one encounters a written send-off that is far from the expected loving expression of facts about the person who died.
Such was the case with the obituary of Dolores Aguilar. The obit for this 79-year-old woman ran on
According to John Bogert of the Daily Breeze (a newspaper based in the South Bay area of
Before agreeing to run the unusual obituary, the
On 10 September 2013, the Reno Gazette-Journal published a similar obituary (in both its print and online versions) for Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick, who had passed away at the age of 78 and was described in her obit as having “neglected and abused her small children” and lived an “evil and violent life”:
Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on
Aug. 30,2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 childrenwhom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.
On behalf of her children whom she so abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children. Her surviving children will now live the rest of their lives with the peace of knowing their nightmare finally has some form of closure.
Most of us have found peace in helping those who have been exposed to child abuse and hope this message of her final passing can revive our message that abusing children is unforgivable, shameless, and should not be tolerated in a “humane society”. Our greatest wish now, is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.
Johnson-Reddick’s unusual obituary quickly garnered national attention, and the Gazette-Journal published a
Katherine Reddick, 57, said she wrote the obituary about her mother, 78, who died at a Reno nursing home. Her mother had bladder cancer and had become a ward of the state when she became sick and was hospitalized.
The two were not in contact.
Katherine Reddick, who works in education in Texas, described a horrific childhood that she and her brothers and sisters endured. Moved from California to
Las Vegasto eventually live in an orphanage in Carson City, she described being abused for years by her mother and in multiple foster homes. Reddick said she slept on the floors of places where her mother ran escort businesses.
From 1963 to 1964, six of Johnson-Reddick’s [eight] children were admitted to the Nevada Children’s Home in Carson City, the long-standing orphanage that closed in 1992.
The children lived there until they either turned 18, joined the military, got married or were ordered to go back and live with their mother, according to state documents at the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
“We were constantly physically, mentally abused even after being taken away and put in the children’s home,” Patrick Reddick said during testimony in 1987. He said that on weekends, they were sent home to an office in Reno, sometimes lined up and beaten with a steel-tipped belt.
Katherine and her brother Patrick said they talked about writing the obituary after learning about their mother’s death. Both are graduates of Carson High School.
They said they did not expect the obituary to garner national attention.
“People may see this as something we did to shame our mother,” Patrick Reddick, the second oldest of eight children, said in a phone interview. “But this is to bring shame to the issue of child abuse. I want every single person to realize this could be your obituary.”
Bogert, John. “Death May Not Be Proud, But It Is Honest.”
The Daily Breeze. 18 August 2008.
McAndrew, Siobhan. “Scathing Obituary Reveals Lives of Abuse, Neglect.”
Reno Gazette-Journal. 11 September 2013.
KRNV-TV [Reno]. “Vicious Obituary Pulled from RGJ.com.”
The Daily Breeze. 10 September 2013.