JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Placed between loving tributes to a woman who died from Alzheimer's and a 96-year-old World War II vet, the Florida Times-Union published an unusual obituary: Not a celebration of life, but of death.
"From a young age, he was a ladies' man and an abusive alcoholic," the obit reads, "solidifying his commitment to both with the path of destruction he left behind, damaging his adult children, and leaving them broken."
Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr.'s obituary doesn't tell a story of accomplishments or fond memories. Instead, the shocking obituary published in the July 2 Florida Times-Union says his passing "proves that evil does eventually die."
Pfaff had family, including children, the obituary says, but was "a dad to none" and "incapable of love."
The author would've paid $167.83 to have the obituary published. The obit form says that submissions must comport with "editorial guidelines," but does not specify what those are. By law, it is not possible to defame a dead person.
If you or a family member are struggling with alcoholism, there are resources that can help. You can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for a treatment referral. You can also visit the alcoholic's anonymous website at www.aa.org.
Update July 5, 2022, 7:27 p.m.:
A spokesperson with Gannett, the company that owns The Florida Times-Union, wrote the following statement: “We regrettably published an obituary that did not adhere to our guidelines and we are looking into the matter further. We regret any distress this may have caused."
The obituary can be read in full here:
"Lawrence H Pfaff Sr. was born in Belmont, NY, on April 16, 1941. He passed away on June 27, 2022, living a long life, much longer than he deserved. He is survived by his three children, no four. Oops, five children. Well as of 2022 we believe there is one more that we know about, but there could be more. His love was abundant when it came to himself, but for his children it was limited. From a young age, he was a ladies' man and an abusive alcoholic, solidifying his commitment to both with the path of destruction he left behind, damaging his adult children, and leaving them broken.
Lawrence, Sr's hobbies included abusing his first wife and children. He loved to start projects but never followed through on any of them. He enjoyed the life of a bar fly for many years and had a quaint little living space, studio, above his favorite hole in the wall, the club Nashville.
Lawrence, Sr. did spend over 20 years in the NYPD, but even his time in service was negligent at best. Because of his alcohol addiction, his Commanding Officer took away his gun and badge, replacing them with a broom until he could get his act together.
Lawrence, Sr. did claim to be clean and sober for over thirty years, but never worked any of the twelve steps, including the eighth and ninth steps with his children, making amends. He possesses no redeeming qualities for his children, including the ones he knew, and the "ones he knew about.”
It will be challenging to miss Lawrence, Sr. because he was narcissistic. He was incapable of love. Lawrence, Sr.'s passing proves that evil does eventually die, and it marks a time of healing, which will allow his children to get the closure they deserve. Lawrence, Sr. can be remembered for being a father to many, and a dad to none."