Mother’s Shocking Nevada Obituary

On Aug. 30, a shocking obituary was printed by the Reno Gazette in Nevada. The announcement of Marianne Theresea Johnson-Reddick’s death, which typically highlights the achievements of the deceased during his or her lifetime, was instead an exposure of the abuse and hurt the woman caused over her 79 years of life. The obituary has since been removed.

The obituary, written by her children, said, “Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Aug. 30, 2013. She is survived by her six of eight children whom 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.”

The children of Johnson-Reddick used the space in the newspaper to describe the horrors of child abuse they had experienced from their mother.

“Everything in there is completely true,” said her son, Patrick Reddick.

Reddick described her as a “wicked, wicked witch” and the rest of the obituary focuses on the negative impact she had on her children during her lifetime. The family wrote the obituary to persuade readers to take action toward their cause. Her children hope that child abusers will take advice from the obituary and reevaluate their actions.

“People doing that right now, they can read that obituary and think,” said Reddick.

While I am sympathetic to the family, an obituary is not the place to create a negative impression of a person. Morally, I believe the obituary is wrong. No one is proud of everything they have done in their life, so I do not believe that our mistakes should be permanently printed for the world to

see. When I reflect on my life, I notice mistakes that I do not want memorialized in my obituary. I believe that an obituary should be a positive send-off gift, rather than a negative interpretation of one’s lifestyle.

The obituary also focuses on the fact that the children of Johnson-Reddick have not been in contact with her in more than three decades. However, the claim that she meddled into her children’s adulthood was quoted in the obituary.

The obituary stated, “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.”

Although she had a negative impact on their childhood, her children gave her little opportunity for self-improvement and personal change. If the obituary would have been written by someone who had been close with Johnson-Reddick toward the end of her life, the outcome could have been quite different. I believe that Johnson-Reddick’s personal growth during her lifetime was not considered, and having a close friend in her later life write the obit could portray her better.

The lack of positivity in the present day is something for concern, especially in the media. I hope that the family will take away from the horrors of their childhood and reflect how they became stronger, independent adults, rather than focusing on the dark times of their lives.

Despite my questions with the morality of the obituary, I do believe that the children had good intentions behind the article. Child abuse is something that should be addressed, and drastic changes must occur in this field. Nevada was the first state to allow children to end relations with their parents due to child abuse, so the state is innovative regarding this issue. However, the mode of publication may not have been the most effective option.