An Obituary So Shocking a Newspaper Had to Pull It

For Gayle Harvey Heckman of Michigan, this might be the first time she could have some merriment on Christmas. The reason is simple: her mother is dead. Ms. Heckman went on a Genghis Khan rampage against her late mother, who she described as “violent, cruel, and hateful.” It didn’t stop there. 

The obituary also revealed disturbing allegations of serial sexual abuse, which floored the readership of Wilcox Newspapers. The piece was so shocking that the newspaper pulled the submission. For their part, management admitted they didn’t give the obituary a “good look” before publishing (via The Messenger): 

Gayle Harvey Heckman penned the obituary for her mother, Linda Lernal Harvey Cullum Smith Stull who died Dec. 12, in her local newspaper. 
“As a mother, Lernal was violent, hateful, and cruel. She physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally, and financially abused Gayle,” Heckman’s obituary read. 
Heckman claims her mother “allowed for her many inappropriate suitors to sexually abuse Gayle,” in the blistering epitaph, concluding that her family “all understand that the world is a much better place without her.” 
Mike Wilcox, the publisher of Wilcox Newspapers, where the obit was initially published, later took it down, explaining that it “was submitted through our website, and was published without a good look on our part.” 
“We took it down from (the) website after complaints about its content poured in. After taking (it) down, several (mostly the daughter) complaints and phone calls were received admonishing us for doing so,” Wilcox told the Sturgis Journal. 
In a message purportedly written by Heckman and posted online, Heckman says the obituary was an attempt to “reclaim my name” and blasted the newspaper for protecting “child abusers.” 
Heckman told the Sturgis Journal that while the obituary was cathartic for her, it was also meant to help others in situations like hers. 
“I wasn’t trying to be hateful, I genuinely … don’t have any hate. I am angry,” she said. “I don’t understand if we don’t talk about this how are we supposed to be break the cycle of trauma, especially generational trauma.”

Well, whatever the case, I hope Ms. Heckman can find some closure if any of this is true. 


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