In a deeply personal and contentious obituary, a Michigan woman, Gayle Harvey Heckman, expressed her searing grievances against her late mother, Linda Lernal Harvey Cullum Smith Stull.
Initially published in Three Rivers News on December 15, the obituary was later removed due to its vitriolic content.
Gayle, 54, described her mother as a “violent, hateful, and cruel” figure who subjected her to physical, mental, emotional, verbal, and financial abuse throughout her life.
Detailing the alleged abuses, the obituary recounted an accusation by Stull, who accused Gayle of attempting to “steal her husband” and purportedly responded with a brutal physical assault.
Despite the scathing tone, Gayle and her family extended forgiveness to Stull, expressing a hope that she had found peace while also seeking peace within themselves.
The obituary concluded with a stark declaration that Stull would not be missed by Gayle or her family, asserting that the world is a better place without her.
The publication of this contentious obituary faced criticism from the community, with Three Rivers News acknowledging the obituary’s hostile nature and subsequently truncating it.
Gayle, Stull’s first child, defended her decision to write the obituary as a means to reclaim her name and counter the narrative that painted her as estranged without cause for over two decades.
In an interview with the Sturgis Journal, Gayle explained that her intent was not to spread hatred but to convey her anger.
She emphasized the need to address and discuss familial trauma to break the cycle, particularly generational trauma.
The publisher of Wilcox Newspapers, Mike Wilcox, acknowledged the oversight and removed the obituary from the website in response to complaints about its content, recognizing the need for a more thoughtful editorial approach.