They say you can’t take it with you, but Leonard Smith proved that you can. When the World War II veteran died last November at age 86, his family published an obituary for him that contained an unusual request of those wishing to pay their respects to his memory:
Leonard Smith hated pointless bureaucracy, thoughtless inefficiency and bad ideas born of good intentions. He loved his wife, admired and respected his children and liked just about every dog he ever met. He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you cancel your subscription to The New York Times. [Emphasis added]
The memorial — which also notes that “Smith was a very private man,” who would have told you if you asked about his cause of death “that it was none of your business” — doesn’t specify whether he himself was a regular Times reader. But one noteworthy subscriber saw his obit and complied with his final wish: Barbara Bush. Last Wednesday, the former first lady appeared on “Fox & Friends,” where she said she cited Smith’s obituary as one reason for swearing off the newspaper of record.”
She had other reasons as well, as Mediaite’s Evan McMurry reports. One was an op-ed piece by Maureen Dowd titled “Brace Yourself for Hillary and Jeb” that warned against political dynasties. “I did see that and I thought, ‘Anything to make news,’” she said.
A video of her remarks can be viewed here. The relevant portion of the clip begins around 3:00.
As for Leonard Smith’s obituary, the last line advises that he “would have thought that this obituary was about three paragraphs too long.” I don’t know about you but I miss him already.
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