An obituary for a Tennessee man has strangers wishing they had met the man it was written for.
Gary Bean of Knoxville died on Aug. 8. He was 65 years old.
His sister, Betty Bean, wrote and published an obituary titled “Gary Bean stole your dog” in the Knox TN Today on Aug. 12, and it had readers laughing over the humorous story-telling about her brother and his dog—Maggie.
Betty, who is also a writer for the newspaper the tribute was published in, describes the circumstances that led her brother to unchain someone’s neglected dog with a bolt cutter from a picnic table in the person’s front yard and claim it as his own.
The full obituary can be read below:
“To the owner of the big skinny dog that disappeared from your North Knoxville front yard where you had chained her to a picnic table:
Gary Bean stole her.
He was working in your neighborhood and would slow down and look every time he’d drive past your house. He considered talking to you about it, but you were never around, and it didn’t take him long to decide that anybody mean enough to treat a dog like that wasn’t worth talking to anyway, so he applied bolt cutter to chain, loaded her into his truck and went on the lam.
She had a home and a new name by the weekend. Her new people called her Maggie and loved her for the rest of her life, which was doubtless way longer than it would have been if she’d stayed chained to your picnic table. That was many years ago, and the dog stealing statute has long since run, so there’s nothing you can do about it now, if you’re still around.
And even if you are, Gary’s out of your reach. He died last Thursday without ever once regretting setting Maggie free. Truth to tell, you probably weren’t his only victim. Gary never met a critter he didn’t love and wasn’t about to let technicalities stop him from acting on his convictions.
Gary Michael Bean was born on the 4th of July 1954 at St. Mary’s to Mercedes and Albert Bean. A country boy and an avid reader, he went to school at Ritta Elementary and Gibbs High where he made many friends, played football, butted heads with teachers and was named Senior Class Favorite. He studied forestry at UT before heading out to try life in New Orleans and Houston before returning to Knoxville. He was kindhearted, funny, friendly and generous past the point of reason.
He was predeceased by his father, grandparents Ralph and Marion Bean and Luci Gonzalez, and brothers John and Butch. Survivors include brothers Richard and David, sisters Jeanette and Betty plus numerous nieces and nephews, companion Becky Sharp and many friends.
There will be no formal funeral service, but Gary’s friends and family will be welcomed to an evening of remembering at a later date.”
People on Facebook enjoyed the witty obituary, with one woman writing, “Now THAT is a legacy. ❤️ And what a great writer to have remember you.”
While another woman wrote on Facebook: “I wish more people were like this man! I would have loved to have met him he sounds amazing!”
Another person said they were so touched by the story that they made a donation to a dog shelter in Gary’s honor, writing, “As a fellow dog stealer, Gary’s legacy has warmed my heart. I made a donation to Habitat for Paws (Nashville) in Gary’s memory on honor of a life well lived. Peace and comfort to all who loved him. – April”
“Loved reading this! What a guy!! My heart is full!,” another added.
One person wrote, “I am sorry for the loss of your brother. He sounds like a great guy- you had me at he applied bolt cutters to the chain and took Maggie home. I know you are hurting and missing your brother. Prayers for your family and his friends.”