Stephen Merrill’s family described him as the kind of guy who “found humor in just about everything.” The 31-year-old Winter Haven, Fla. resident passed away unexpectedly last week, and when it came time for his obituary to be published, they didn’t have the actual cause of death to include. According to ABC Action News, Merrill’s friend, Brandon Moxam, suggested that the cause was an “uppercut from Batman” because it would have simply been the kind of obituary that Merrill wanted. Even his fiancé and family agreed, but when they sent along the obituary to the Ledger, the newspaper declined.
However, another friend called the Ledger and explained the joke and the story behind it, and the paper agreed to make that the official cause of death in Merrill’s published obituary.
“I made a joke,” said Moxam, “Say the cause of death was an ‘uppercut from Batman.’”
Moxam said everyone in the room including Merrill’s family, fiancée and close friends, all started laughing. According to Moxam, that’s when Merrill’s dad, Larry Merrill, said, “Yeah, the cause of death was an uppercut from Batman.”
“It’s so great that they honored his family’s wishes,” said his fiancée. Merrill’s family and friends all agreed he would have loved it. “He wouldn’t have wanted you to come across his obit and be sad. He would have wanted you to come across the obit and laugh and have your spirits lifted,” said Vella. (Via ABC Action News in Tampa)
Merrill was reportedly diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and while he went into remission later that year, the cancer returned in October. The entire obituary reads:
Stephen Merrill, 31, passes away February 12, 2015, due to a uppercut from Batman.
He was born January 28, 1984, the son of Larry Ronald Merrill and Bridgett I. Dotson Merrill. He was in retail sales at The Big Shop in Legoland, Florida.
In addition to his parents, Stephen is survived by his fiancée, Stephanie Vella; son, Noah; and sister, Kimberly.
Visitation is Tuesday, February 17, 2015, from 12-1PM with a celebration of life at 1PM, both at Ott-Laughlin Funeral Home, Winter Haven.