Surgeon jokes he was 'ginger God of surgery' in self-written obit before death

A surgeon penned a stunning obituary to himself before his death at the age of 48 – saying he was the ‘ginger god of surgery’ as he paid tribute to his own ‘good run’.

Father-of-three, Dr Thomas Flanigan, sadly died last week and arranged for a self-written obituary to be published online. His touching letter was posted on following his death on April 27, in which he said he has ‘completed my shift as the great American cliché’.

Flanigan, from Ohio, who was married and also served in the army, said his ‘real legacy’ was his ‘dad jokes, New Year’s letters’ and hilarious Facebook memes.

The obituary read: ‘Well, that’s it. I have completed my shift as the great American cliché. In the spirit of what turned out to be my last New Year’s letter, my wild and crazy life has again taken a new, unexpected turn with my shocking and unexpected, yet fabulous, exit.

Flanigan wrote that he has ‘joined the likes of Princess Diana, John Belushi, and Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter in leaving while still at the top of my game as an iconic superhero who seemed almost too good to be true’.

The obit continued: ‘It was a good run. No, a great run, but I can’t take all the credit. Northern Michigan University and my Lambda Chi Alpha brothers, Wayne State University Medical School, The United States Army, colleagues, various celebrities, random cartoon characters, people who make memes, Russians and other friends and family all contributed.’ 

Flanigan, who is survived by his wife, Amy, and their children, Joey, 14, Evelyn, 13, and Sylvia, 10, said his family ‘are the absolute best’. 

‘Please take good care of them like the priceless treasures they are,’ Flanigan wrote.

He added: ‘I will admit that I originally got married for the husband jokes and had kids for the dad jokes. It did not disappoint.

‘The jokes I mean, but Amy and the kids were pretty good too. Going to school events, dance competitions, and eight zillion hockey practices at the crack of dawn really makes a man’s life worthwhile,’ the obituary reads. 

Flanigan also recapped some of his most treasured memories, which included seeing sights around the world like ‘Hawaiian volcanoes, Egyptian pyramids, and even the advent of air fryers. I will say, it was magical, all of it’.

The obituary said: ‘In case you’ve heard the rumors, I did dabble in a few other things along the way during my 48 years, like serving my country in combat on two separate tours, earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and saving countless lives as an accomplished surgeon and MD. 

‘Oh, there was also that whole, fulfilling, “cosmetic and reconstructive surgery” stint too. Yada, yada, yada.

‘Let’s talk about my real legacy, though…The dad jokes, the New Year’s letters, the Facebook memes. What was I to this world if not a beacon of light shining upon those who couldn’t scan the internet for their own hilarious and entertaining comic relief?

‘I guess what I am trying to say is that you’re welcome and you owe me big time.

‘I know it’s impossible to believe, but I, the Ginger God of Surgery and Shenanigans, have fought my last cow (you’re welcome Tim) and ridden off into the glorious sunset after re-enlisting with a new unit.’

The moving tribute to himself concludes by joking that the ‘Church of Tom’ is now closed for business.

It reads: ‘Due to the unknown and cosmic nature of my next mission, this will be our last communication, it will self-destruct in five minutes.

‘My whereabouts are now top secret, but let’s just say I have made some new friends by the names of Elvis and Kenny.

‘The Church of Tom is closed for business, but please continue to worship me, light candles, and send money. You know the deal.’

It’s unclear what caused Flanigan’s death. A private celebration of his life will be held for his family on Friday.

In the comments below his obituary, friends, family, past colleagues and even patients took the opportunity to pay tribute to Flanigan.

One of his patients remembered him as ‘an intelligent, funny, compassionate and caring doctor’.

Another said: ‘You meant so very much to me. The world is dimmer without you in it. I would like to thank you for your kindness and compassion in my breast cancer journey.’

Meanwhile, of his fraternity brothers said Flanigan was ‘one in a million’. 

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