The Gannett newspaper chain has apologized for publishing a Florida man’s scathing obituary of his former NYPD cop father who called him an abusive alcoholic.
Lawrence Pfaff Jr. of Jacksonville eviscerated his late father in a July 2 Florida Times-Union article as a negligent thug who left his children “broken.”
Pfaff wrote that his father was a 20-year-old NYPD veterinarian whose “hobbies included abusing his first wife and children.”
“From an early age he was a ladies’ man and an abusive alcoholic, cementing his commitment to both with the path of destruction he left behind, damaging his adult children and leaving them broken,” wrote Pfaff in the surprising obituary.
The Gannett Company, owner of the Jacksonville-based publication, said the article should have been flagged as inappropriate before it was published.
“We have unfortunately posted an obituary that does not meet our guidelines and are investigating the matter further,” the company told First Coast News. “We regret any distress this may have caused.”
The scorned son referred to his father’s time as a cop in New York in the obituary.
“Lawrence, Sr. served over 20 years with the NYPD, but even his time on duty has been negligent at best,” he wrote. “Due to his alcohol addiction, his commanding officer took away his gun and badge, replacing them with a broom until he could pull himself together.”
Pfaff Jr. told First Coast News that his painful prose was an exercise in cathartic healing – and that he wrote it before his death as a coping mechanism.
“Writing his obituary was a way for me to really cleanse myself and let that part of my life go,” he said. “And so a year ago I sat down and started writing it, not knowing that I would have the opportunity in the near future to use it.”
The death of his father at 81, he writes in the article, would allow his children to begin their recovery in earnest.
“He was incapable of loving,” said the obituary. “Lawrence, Sr.’s passing proves that evil does eventually die, and it marks a period of healing, which will allow his children to get the closure they deserve.”
Pfaff told First Coast News he made unsuccessful attempts to connect with his father, but was estranged from him for 30 years.
While the obituary shocked some readers, Pfaff said the themes sounded familiar to others.
“I got a call from someone in St. Augustine who found me and wanted to thank me for posting this because, you know, they had similar lives, and they wanted to be able to do something similar. to help heal,” he said. the exit. “They just thanked me for, you know, the honesty.”
New York Post