Toledo surgeon’s obituary goes viral

May 11th – Although Dr. Thomas Flanigan would never send Christmas cards to his friends and family, he sent out New Years letters, always intended as a collection of funny reflections from the past year.

When Dr. Flanigan died last month, loved ones thought it appropriate to put together an obit in the same style. It would be an opportunity to make smiles on those who had enjoyed his letters over the years.

“It’s supposed to be very humorous,” said Dr. Flanigan’s longtime friend Dan Forthoffer on the annual letters Dr. Flanigan sent earlier. “We have decided to make the obituary with this in mind.”

Neither of them thought it was going to go viral.

“We never expected someone to deal with it so intensely,” said Forthoffer.

And although Mr. Forthoffer understands how someone reading it might think that Dr. Flanigan wrote it himself, those who put it together never meant this should be take-away.

“There were probably seven of us who helped,” he said.

“I know it’s impossible to believe, but I, the ginger god of surgery and shenanigans, fought my last cow (you’re welcome Tim) and rode into the glorious sunset after reporting back with a new unit had “said reading a passage of the obituary. “Due to the unknown and cosmic nature of my next mission, this will be our final communication. It will self-destruct in five minutes. My whereabouts are top secret now, but let’s just say I’ve made some new friends by the names of Elvis and.” Kenny. “

In an email statement, Dr. Flanigan’s wife, Amy Flanigan, that his family knew they didn’t want a typical obituary with a list of life events and achievements.

“We wanted it to sound like him and really represent the dull, humorous personality he openly shared with everyone he met,” she said.

She said she thought he would laugh at his obituary being circulated around the world and featured in publications like the Daily Mail and the New York Post.

The story goes on

“As we strive to think of a life without him, we are so grateful that the amazing life he led is shared around the world and brings so many smiles one last time,” she said.

Dr. Flanigan died on April 27 of an undetermined medical problem. He was 48 years old. He was born on October 31, 1972.

He was a surgeon at a local doctor’s office, served in the U.S. Army, and toured Iraq on several tours. He was married and had three children.

Mr. Forthoffer said he and Dr. Flanigan first met at Northern Michigan University, where they were brothers, and later attended Wayne State University, where Dr. Flanigan graduated from medical school and Mr. Forthoffer graduated from post-graduate school.

After Wayne State they landed neighbors in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Mr. Forthoffer said. About seven years ago, Dr. Flanigan to Toledo.

“He was a great friend,” said Mr Forthoffer. “He was the guy who would do anything to help you.”

When Dr. Flanigan died, said Mr Forthoffer, it took about a week for it to sink. When Dr. Flanigan moved to Toledo, the meetings were monthly or bi-monthly.

Mr Forthoffer said he was glad the obituary went viral because so many people could learn more about the type of person Dr. Flanigan was. And he likes to think that Dr. Flanigan would have gotten a kick out of it too.

“I think he would have loved it,” said Mr. Forthoffer. “I hope he would have loved it.”

First published May 10, 2021, 7:02 p.m.

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