An obit you have to read: ‘We celebrate her passing from this earth’

The Globe and Mail

Reading a newspaper (Brian Jackson/Thinkstock)

On the bright side, Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick is not in a position to process all the attention her obituary is attracting.

When Johnson-Reddick died on August 30, her daughter Katherine Reddick took the opportunity to expose her mom’s abusive behaviour.

“While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion toward 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.”

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The full text can be read here.

Johnson-Reddick was 78 years old and, as the obituary makes clear, died alone at a nursing home.

Instead of celebrating their mother’s life, it appears her six remaining children (two are deceased) “celebrate her passing from this earth.” Her daughter doesn’t stop there, writing her wish that mom can spend her afterlife “reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty, and shame that she delivered on her children.”

The obituary, which appeared in Tuesday’s Reno Gazette-Journal, ends with the children’s desire to establish a national movement committed to ending child abuse in the United States.

The newspaper followed up on the obituary with more information on the family. Katherine Reddick, 57, currently works in education in Texas. She was one of six children who grew up in a children’s home after being subject to physical violence.

The second eldest, Patrick Reddick, offered his thoughts to the Reno Gazette-Journal after the obituary ran. “People may see this as something we did to shame our mother,” he said. “But this is to bring shame to the issue of child abuse. I want every single person to realize this could be your obituary.”

Unsurprisingly, the obituary has gained widespread visibility over the past two days. Yesterday, Patrick told the AP “everything in there was completely true,” and described her as a “wicked, wicked witch.”

If their mother was the person they paint her to be, the children have used her death to bring awareness to a form of victimization that occurs out of the public eye. There are family feuds and then there is abuse. That none of Johnson-Reddick’s children stepped up to act as legal guardian in her final months reveals as much as the obituary. But those words are now her legacy. And it’s a far cry from RIP.

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