‘He left his family with a house full of crap:’ A loving, if irreverent, obituary

Joe Heller

Joe Heller’s obituary begins like this: “Joe Heller made his last undignified and largely irreverent gesture on Sept. 8, 2019, signing off on a life, in his words, ‘generally well-lived and with few regrets.’ When the doctors confronted his daughters with the news last week that ‘your father is a very sick man,’ in unison they replied, ‘you have no idea.’

Heller, a Navy man, worked at the Yale Law School Library, was a town constable, a volunteer fireman and ambulance association member, crosswalk guard and a public works snow plower, according to his obituary.

Apparently written by one of Heller’s daughters, the obituary goes into great detail about what it was like to bring dates home: “They were invited into the house where shotguns, harpoons and sheep ‘nutters’ were left clearly on display.”

Heller was also apparently something of a hoarder.

“Joe was a frequent shopper at the Essex Dump and he left his family with a house full of crap, 300 pounds of birdseed and dead houseplants that they have no idea what to do with,” the obituary reads. “If there was ever a treasure that he snatched out from under you among the mounds of junk, please wait the appropriate amount of time to contact the family to claim your loot. We're available tomorrow.”

The obituary also discusses Heller’s love for dogs: “He was perhaps most well-known for his role as the Essex town ‘Dawg Kecher.’ He refused to put any of his ‘prisoners’ down and would look for the perfect homes for them. One of them was a repeat offender who he named ‘A**hole’ because no owner would ever keep him for very long because he was, in fact, an a**hole.”

“He never met a dog he didn't like,” the obituary says.

And while the family does request donations in Heller’s memory be made to the Seabee Memorial Scholarship, “the family is seeking donations to offset the expense of publishing an exceedingly long obituary which would have really pissed Joe off.”

Connecticut Media Group