A Michigan man who penned his own “nobituary” died one day after throwing a party to celebrate his life.
About 500 people attended the “celebration of life” for Bob Eleveld of Grand Rapids, Michigan Live reported. The 80 year-old had arranged the party weeks before and announced it in a local newspaper in an article his family referred to as a “nobit.”
— Michigan News (@NewsMichigan) March 20, 2017
“Hel-“LO”! This is Bob Eleveld. As I write this notice, I am still with you, although my doctors have informed me that this status will change in the near future,” Eleveld wrote in the Grand Rapids Press on Mar. 14. “I have decided, however, to eschew the normal process of others celebrating my life after I die and, instead, would like to celebrate your lives with me. I would like to invite those who are able to attend my ‘Celebration of Life’ Open House.”
This was one of those stories that hits every range of emotion. A dying EGR man writes pre obit, plans party. pic.twitter.com/FRRPZnuxfu
— joelafurgey (@joelafurgey) March 16, 2017
As it turned out, he was too unwell to attend the event himself but relatives and friends who turned out left well-wishes on cards and sticky notes. Those notes were read to him as he passed away in bed at his home the next day while the University of Michigan basketball game played on TV, Michigan Live reported.
“We were fortunate enough to make Bob’s wish come true,” Michele McIsaac, Eleveld’s partner for about 24 years, said. “He wanted to go out with a bang and he went out with a bang.”
A graduate from University of Michigan Law School in 1961, Eleveld practiced law for more than 50 years in Grand Rapids. He served in the Michigan Air National Guard and was active in local politics. He served as a local Republican Party chairman, a candidate for state representative and a member of the East Grand Rapids City Commission.
He was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia in August 2014 and stopped treatment after nearly two years of battling the cancer, according to Michigan Live.
“I would like the opportunity to share a moment with all of the people who have touched my life in so many ways and to let you know how much you have meant to me,” he wrote in his “nobit” invitation to the celebration.
He added that his “loving partner, Michele,” his eight children, 20 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren were “at ease with the fact that we’re in the fourth quarter with no more Hail Mary passes.”
— WOOD TV8 (@WOODTV) March 18, 2017
Eleveld’s daughter Kerry said her father’s idea for a party instead of a funeral was not new.
“Long before he had cancer, he would always say don’t throw a funeral for me, have a party,” she told Michigan Live.
“I recognize that the timing of this event may be a bit odd, considering that I will be with you for this Celebration of Life,” Eleveld’s invitation read. “Doing this brings me great joy. We’d be honored if you would drop in, say hi, share a glass of red and a laugh.”
The decision to go ahead with the party came after doctors told Eleveld he only had four to six weeks left to live.
His daughter felt he was happy with the result even though he was unable to attend the event held at the Thousand Oaks Golf Club.
“For him, I don’t think it was so much about him as it was about bringing people together,” she said.
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