Man Who Died of Lung Cancer Used His Own Obituary to Beg Others Not to Smoke

Obituaries are usually written as somber yet direct, informative pieces, and sometimes they’re filled with anecdotes and bits of humor. But how often have you seen one that is self-written and meant to inspire?

Geoffrey Turner passed away this month just before Valentine’s Day at the age of 66. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer towards the end of 2018 and had to face a sobering truth: smoking can kill. Turner decided to pen his own obituary with words of wisdom about life, family, and a warning about smoking.

In the piece that was published in the Albany Times Union, he wrote:

“I was an idiot who made the same stupid decision, day-after-day, multiple times per day. I was a smoker and even though I knew it may eventually kill me, I chose to deny the truth to myself. The pain and suffering I caused my family was not worth the perceived “satisfaction” that really did nothing more than waste money, separate me from my family, and eventually destroyed my body.

I did many good things, helped lots of people, and even made a decent living. At 66 years old, I lived a decent life, but there are so many events and milestones I will not be able to share with my loved ones. The moral of this story – don’t be an idiot. If you’re a smoker – quit – now – your life depends on it and those that you love depend upon your life.”

One of Turner’s five children, Sarah Huist, shared with Today that her father’s unexpected, reflective words changed his legacy in a way. She said that although he and his wife of 41 years discussed him quitting, in the end, his stubbornness overruled the decision. But he always discouraged his children from smoking, citing its dangers.

Since the obit has gone viral, Huist and the family have been pleased to hear kind words from others about their loss and from those who have been inspired to quit smoking. It was perhaps his last good deed.

Do you know someone who struggled with smoking and its effects? What are your thoughts on Mr. Turner’s obituary?