JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — A man penned a searing obituary to his late father in a Florida newspaper, describing him as “dad to none”.
Lawrence Pfaff Jr. said he wrote the obituary, published in the Florida Times-Union on July 2, to help himself heal from childhood trauma.
Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr., 81, of Belmont, New York, died on June 27. He is survived by five children, but according to the obituary, he likely fathered at least one more child.
The younger Pfaff described his father as a “ladies’ man” and an “abusive alcoholic”, saying he “solidified his commitment to both with the path of destruction he left behind, damaging his adult children, and leaving them broken”.
Most obituaries are emotional tributes to a loved one, but Pfaff told NBC News that he didn’t want to lie about his father, writing, “his hobbies included abusing his first wife and children”.
Pfaff, now 58, said his father left his family when he was nine years old and he eventually tracked him down through ancestry and DNA research. Pfaff had not spoken to his father for 30 years before he died.
In the obituary, Pfaff said his father worked as a New York Police Department officer for over 20 years, but he was forced to give up his gun and badge due to his alcoholism.
“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,” the obituary said, adding, “He possesses no redeeming qualities for his children”.
Pfaff told the Florida Times-Union he began writing his father’s obituary a year before he died to process his father’s abuse and “close that chapter” in his life.
“The closure has brought me much happiness. I feel so free from the chains of that prison,” he said.
Pfaff told the Times-Union that he ran the obituary by his siblings before submitting it to the newspaper, expecting backlash for his harsh words, but their response was positive.