A son's brutally honest yet loving obituary went viral after calling out his mom for her affairs, love of weed, and trash talking

roses on a casket at a funeral
A file photo of a funeral casket.
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  • Renay Mandel Corren's obituary spread on social media after she died on December 11.
  • Corren, who died in El Paso, Texas, was remembered by her son Andy with unusual honesty.
  • Andy Corren wrote that his mother was a "plus-sized Jewish lady redneck" who lied and had affairs.

An uncharacteristically honest obituary of a mother published last week has spread across social media and garnered widespread praise. 

An obituary for Renay Mandel Corren, who died at the age of 84 on December 11, was published in The Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina on Wednesday.

But unlike most newspaper obituaries, which typically focus on the positives, her son Andy Corren held nothing back in describing her many faults.

Corren began the obituary by introducing his mother as a "plus-sized Jewish lady redneck," calling her a "bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch" who had recently "kicked it."

"A more disrespectful, trash-reading, talking and watching woman in NC, FL or TX was not to be found," Andy Corren wrote.

The obituary went on to detail how Corren had six children, went bankrupt, claimed to have an affair with Larry King, regularly lied, enjoyed rolling joints and reading dirty magazines, and survived multiple health scares. 

"Yes, Renay lied a lot. But on the plus side, Renay didn't cook, she didn't clean, and she was lousy with money, too," Andy Corren wrote.

Obituaries also typically call for the privacy of the family to be respected in grief, but Andy Corren did no such thing.

"The family requests absolutely zero privacy or propriety, none what so ever, and in fact encourages you to spend some government money today on a 1-armed bandit, at the blackjack table or on a cheap cruise to find our inheritance," he wrote.

The memorial, he wrote, would also be unconventional. "There will be a very disrespectful and totally non-denominational memorial on May 10, 2022, most likely at a bowling alley in Fayetteville, NC," he said.

The obituary was shared widely on social media and garnered praise from writers and officials.

"Are you looking for a 5 minute read that will definitely make you enjoy life more? I suggest Renay Mandel Corren's obituary from the Fayetteville Observer," Josh Stein, the attorney general for North Carolina, tweeted.

The actor Andy Richter tweeted it was "hilarious and beautiful." 

Read the full obituary here.

Andy Corren later told The Guardian that despite his mother's flaws, he was resolute that she should be remembered.

"But I didn't want to pass up the chance — would never pass up the chance — to make sure that this absolutely fascinating libertine and vulgarian that I was lucky enough to call my mother is remembered," he said.

Andy Corren said he wrote parts of the obituary in front of his mother, who seemed amused. 

"She laughed at some of it. She raised her eyebrow, archly disdaining some of it," he said. 

He said he was "deeply touched" by the outpouring of love in response to the obituary. "Maybe we all needed a laugh, and a way to talk about death in a funny way," he said.

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