‘You owe me big time’: Surgeon pens own obituary before his death at 48

A surgeon from Ohio has written a fantastic obituary for himself before dying aged 48.

Dr Thomas Lee Flanigan was renowned by many for his sense of humour and his Facebook memes, so it seemed fitting for him to write his own obituary for his friends, family and patients.

The army veteran, who is a father of three, died on 27 April.

“Well, that’s it. I have completed my shift as the great American cliche. In the spirit of what turned out to be my last New Year’s letter, my wild and crazy life has again taken a new, unexpected turn with my shocking and unexpected, yet fabulous exit,” Flanigan said in his obituary, which was posted on Legacy.com.

He also said that he “joined the likes of Princess Diana, John Belushi, and Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter in leaving while still at the top of my game as an iconic superhero who seemed almost too good to be true.

“It was a good run. No, a great run, but I can’t take all the credit. Northern Michigan University and my Lambda Chi Alpha brothers, Wayne State University Medical School, the United States Army, colleagues, various celebrities, random cartoon characters, people who make memes, Russians and other friends and family all contributed,” he said.

He also described his wife Amy and their three children Joey, 14, Evelyn, 13 and Sylvia, 10, as “the absolute best”.

“Please take care of them like they priceless treasures they are,” he said, before saying he only got married and had children for the jokes.

“I will admit that I originally got married for the husband jokes and had kids for the dad jokes. It did not disappoint. The jokes I mean, but Amy and the kids were pretty good too. Going to school events, dance competitions, and eight zillion hockey practices at the crack of dawn really makes a man’s life worthwhile,” he said.

Flanigan said that he had experienced “some other delightful things in my time here – Hawaiian volcanoes, Egyptian pyramids, and even the advent of air fryers. I will say, it was magical, all of it.”

“In case you’ve heard the rumours, I did dabble in a few things along the way during my 48 years, like serving my country in combat on two separate tours, earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and saving countless lives an accomplished surgeon and MD.

“Oh, there was also that whole, fulfilling, “cosmetic and reconstructive surgery” stint too. Yada, yada, yada. Let’s talk about my real legacy, though… The dad jokes, the New Year’s letters, the Facebook memes. What was I to this world if not a beacon of light shining upon those who couldn’t scan the internet for their own hilarious and entertaining comic relief? I guess what I am trying to say is that you’re welcome and owe me big time now.

“I know it’s impossible to believe, but I, the Ginger God of Surgery and Shenanigans have fought my last cow (You’re welcome Tim) and ridden off into the glorious sunset after re-enlisting for a new unit.

“Due to the unknown and cosmic nature of my next mission, this will be our last communications. It will self destruct in five minutes. My whereabouts are now top secret, but let’s just say I have made some new friends by the names of Elvis and Kenny. The Church of Tom is closed for business, but please continue to worship me, light candles, and send money. You know the deal.”

Dr Flanigan’s cause of death is unknown, however, he was remembered warmly by those who knew him.

A former patient wrote that he was “an intelligent, funny, compassionate and caring doctor”.

Another said: “You meant so very much to me. The world is dimmer without you in it. I would like to thank you for your kindness and compassion in my breast cancer journey.”

A fraternity brother described him as “one in a million”.

A private memorial is being planned to be held on Friday.

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