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Family Talk: Take a life lesson from Les

Wow. Just wow.

Most of the obituaries and eulogies we read extol the virtues of the dearly beloved. When someone passes away we usually go long on compliments and stifle criticism. But not in the case of Mr. Leslie Ray Charping, of Galveston, Texas. 

His daughter, who penned the scathingly honest obituary of her dad, said her father always hated liars, and she felt “it would have been offensive to portray him as anything other than who he was.”

Leslie Ray Charping was born Nov. 20, 1942, and died Jan. 30, 2017, "which was 29 years longer than expected and much longer than he deserved," according to the daughter-authored obituary. 

She continues:

At a young age, Leslie quickly became a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive. Leslie enlisted to serve in the Navy, but not so much in a brave and patriotic way but more as part of a plea deal to escape sentencing on criminal charges. 

Leslie battled with cancer in his later years and lost his battle, ultimately due to being the horse’s ass he was known for. He leaves behind 2 relieved children; a son Leslie Roy Charping and daughter, Shiela Smith along with six grandchildren and countless other victims including an ex wife, relatives, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses and random strangers.

Leslie was surprisingly intelligent, however he lacked ambition and motivation to do anything more than being reckless, wasteful, squandering the family savings and fantasizing about get rich quick schemes. Leslie's hobbies included being abusive to his family, expediting trips to heaven for the beloved family pets and fishing, which he was less skilled with than the previously mentioned. Leslie's life served no other obvious purpose, he did not contribute to society or serve his community and he possessed no redeeming qualities besides quick [witted] sarcasm which was amusing during his sober days.

Wow. Just wow. But that’s not all.

With Leslie's passing he will be missed only for what he never did; being a loving husband, father and good friend. No services will be held, there will be no prayers for eternal peace and no apologizes to the family he tortured. Leslie's passing proves that evil does in fact die and hopefully marks a time of healing and safety for all."

I grieved as I read this obituary, and I didn’t even know the man. I grieved for all the sorrow he left in his wake. I grieved for a life so misspent. I grieved that, apparently, no one could reach Les. And I grieved for those who are living a life like Les and are not being a loving husband, father and good friend.

It’s too late for Les, but not for you and me. It may sound weird, but I recommend writing your own obituary now, while you’re still alive. Write it the way you want people to remember you at your funeral. Then start living that way today.

Take a life lesson from Les. Live a life you and your family will treasure, not trash.

Jim Priest

Jim Priest is the CEO of Sunbeam Family Services, a 108-year-old nonprofit that provides a range of social services to support Oklahoma's most vulnerable people, including early childhood education, counseling, foster care and senior services. Jim... Read more ›