Thanks to reader Birger Johansson, I learned of this obituary that celebrates a decidedly unconventional life.
Some obituary notices open with the grand achievements of a life well-lived, or the tender details of a person’s passing with loved ones at their side. The death in El Paso, Texas, of Renay Mandel Corren, however, was marked in somewhat more unorthodox fashion. “The bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redneck American family has kicked it,” it read.
They include her birthplace of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, “where she first fell in love with ham, and atheism”; Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, “where Renay’s dreams, credit rating and marriage are all buried”; and Miami, Florida, “where Renay’s parents, uncles, aunts, and eternal hopes of all Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, are all buried pretty deep”.
“Renay has been toying with death for decades, but always beating it and running off in her silver Chevy Nova,” the obituary states.
“Covid couldn’t kill Renay. Neither could pneumonia twice, infections, blood clots, bad feet, breast cancer twice, two mastectomies, two recessions, multiple bankruptcies, marriage to a philandering Sergeant Major, divorce in the 70s, six kids, one cesarean, a few abortions from the Quietly Famous Abortionist of Spring Lake, NC or an affair with Larry King in the 60s.”
It also lists her many talents: “She played cards like a shark, bowled and played cribbage like a pro, and laughed with the boys until the wee hours, long after the last pin dropped.”
“Renay didn’t cook, she didn’t clean, and she was lousy with money, too. Here’s what Renay was great at: dyeing her red roots, weekly manicures, dirty jokes, pier fishing, rolling joints and buying dirty magazines.”