Son Pens Heartfelt and Comical Obituary for His Mom, a 'Bawdy, Fertile, Redheaded Matriarch'

"She played cards like a shark, bowled and played cribbage like a pro, and laughed with the boys until the wee hours, long after the last pin dropped," Andy Corren wrote of his mother, Renay

Renay Mandel Corren

After 84-year-old Renay Mandel Corren died this month, her son Andy made sure to send off his beloved mother in style.

Andy's obituary for Corren, who died on Dec. 11 in El Paso, Texas, has gone viral for its humorous reflection on — as he describes — the life of a "plus-sized Jewish lady redneck."

"The bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redneck American family has kicked it," Andy wrote in the obituary, published in the Fayetteville Observer.

"This was not good news to Renay Mandel Corren's many surviving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom she even knew and, in her own way, loved," he said.

The obit details how Corren fell in love with "ham and atheism" while growing up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, then had her "dreams, credit rating and marriage" buried in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. (Corren's parents, uncles and aunts are all buried in Miami, Florida, with the "eternal hopes of all Miami Dolphins fans everywhere," Andy also wrote.)

"Because she was my mother, the death of zaftig good-time gal Renay Corren at the impossible old age of 84 is newsworthy to me, and I treat it with the same respect and reverence she had for, well, nothing," Andy said. "A more disrespectful, trash-reading, talking and watching woman in NC, FL or TX was not to be found. Hers was an itinerant, much-lived life, a Yankee Florida liberal Jewish Tough Gal who bowled 'em in Japan, rolled 'em in North Carolina and was a singularly unique parent."

And if there was any mistaking Corren for being uptight or timid (or truthful), Andy quickly put that to rest.

"She played cards like a shark, bowled and played cribbage like a pro, and laughed with the boys until the wee hours, long after the last pin dropped," he wrote. "At one point in the 1980's, Renay was the 11th or 12th-ranked woman in cribbage in America, and while that could be a lie, it sounds great in print. She also told us she came up with the name for Sunoco, and I choose to believe this, too. Yes, Renay lied a lot."

"But on the plus side, Renay didn't cook, she didn't clean, and she was lousy with money, too," he continued. "Here's what Renay was great at: dyeing her red roots, weekly manicures, dirty jokes, pier fishing, rolling joints and buying dirty magazines."

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The entire 996-word obituary can be read on the Fayetteville Observer website.

Of course, such a tribute wouldn't be complete without a fitting memorial, and Andy — who calls himself his mother's "favorite son, the gay one who writes catty obituaries in his spare time" — said "a very disrespectful and totally non-denominational memorial" will be held "most likely at a bowling alley" in May of 2022.

"Bye, Mommy," Andy ended the obit. "We loved you to bits."

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