When Thomas (Tomm) WJ Mulligan of Nashua, New Hampshire, died suddenly on July 16, his two daughters reacted in the best way their knew how — by cracking jokes.
Kim Mulligan, 38, of Los Angeles, and Amy Mulligan-Schiripo, 33, of Dracut, Massachusetts, said that their father was always a jokester, so it was only fitting that he be honored with a funny obituary.
"Dad didn't play a lot of practical jokes, he was just funny in general," Kim Mulligan told TODAY. "He was totally irreverent, sarcastic and dry. He loved jokes that were 'too soon.' I think this obituary would fit into that category."
The obit, which ran in the Nashua Telegraph, began with the line "Thomas (Tomm) WJ Mulligan of Nashua has passed away at home in his recliner as he had threatened to for years."
In the unique tribute, Mulligan was described by his daughters as "a kid from Brooklyn who grew up to live the American Dream of marriage, a career, a house in the suburbs and two pain in the ass kids. He attended Bishop Ford High School."
Other humorous parts included a reference to Mulligan's favorite TV show — and his habit of making himself comfortable at home.
"His love of 'Doctor Who' was only surpassed by his love of not wearing pants at home. He often combined these two interests."
Mulligan was 68 at the time of his death, and his passing came as a surprise to his daughters.
"It was very unexpected," Kim said. "He was not the picture of health, but he seemed fine. It looks like he went due to a sudden medical event without lot of pain and he was in his recliner as he threatened to do. He showed us!"
Kim said that her dad's irreverent sense of humor definitely runs in the family.
"We inherited his sense of humor and that is a gift," she said. "Instead of crying while we were making arrangements, we were cracking jokes. Of course it doesn't mean we aren't incredibly sad, but it's definitely what he would have wanted."
The obituary ends with the typical list of who the deceased is survived by. For Mulligan this includes his wife, Iris Mulligan, his "favorite daughter" Kim Mulligan and his "other" daughter Amy Schiripo. (Kim was the one who wrote the obit).
On Saturday, friends and family gathered to say their goodbyes to the man Kim described as "very handsome, charming and hilarious" at an event she called a celebration of life.
"He would not have wanted us to grieve terribly for him. We did not wear black to the funeral, we had a party where people told hilarious stories about him and we had a whiskey toast in his honor."
She said that the attention the obituary is getting has been a welcome relief from the sadness of the situation.
"Humor definitely helped us get through this," she said.