Guy who died in Iowa has absolutely no connection or relevance whatsoever to the Pelican Rapids Press coverage area–but, so what. Ya just gotta read these final words…

Death isn’t free–when it comes to telling the final story of your lost loved one. 

Over the past couple decades, newspapers acrosss the nation began charging a fee to print obituaries.  

For many families, and those of us in the newspaper business, it was blasphemy.  Obituaries were always a crucial part of the newspaper, and charging a fee to place a local obituary seemed somehow “unholy.” 

In one of my previous lives in the newspaper business, a local funeral home operator constantly chastised me when we began charging for obituaries.  And, I might note, that this was not friendly, gentle or constructive criticism. He absolutely despised the fact that obituaries were now treated with all the sanctity and dignity of a for-sale advertisement for a used manure spreader.

Well, as time passed, most folks have come to accept “paid obituaries” as a part of life–and death. 

Truth is, newspapers really could no longer sustain the cost of publishing hundreds upon hundreds of obituaries, given rising expense of newsprint paper, printing, distribution, postage and other overhead costs–coupled with declining revenue. (We might note, however, that the Pelican Rapids Press has held its obituary rates to a bare minimum, starting at only $50. Among the most affordable rates around—so if you’re contemplating the eventuality of your demise…!) 

Anyway, one of the fortunate side-benefits of “paid obits,” is that in many cases, families have in some cases become more creative, more spiritual or more amusing with their submitted obituaries. Since they’re paying for it, well, some folks decide “heck, let’s have some fun with it.” 

In the past, newspapers faced so much competition for valuable space that editing standards were long-established for “free obituaries.” What this meant was obituaries were edited and shortened, in an effort to be fair to everybody. And–the free obit basically limited the option for families who wished to elaborate, embellish or even entertain readers about their deceased loved one.

We’re not necessarily advocating lengthy, semi-non-fictional obituaries, and frankly, since the local newspaper is still an important “historic record,” we do expect families to stay within the boundaries of truth, accuracy and taste. 

But, having said that, what you’re about to read is probably the most cleverly crafted obituary I’ve ever encountered–yet the key facts were still presented. (Our version is slightly edited, mainly for length. But it still captures the spirit of the guy.)   

–Louis Hoglund, managing editor 


Tim Schrandt, age 63, of Spillville, IA died March 29 at Gundersen Health System in LaCrosse, WI after a short battle with cancer.

Tim Schrandt Dead–but not forgotten–thanks to a brilliant obituary in the local newspaper

Burial will be in the church cemetery with full military rites.

Tim Schrandt (Lynyrd) made his last inappropriate comment on March 29. If you are wondering if you may have ever met him, you didn’t–because you would remember. For those of you that did meet him, we apologize, as we’re sure he probably offended you. He was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is.

Given Tim’s demeanor he would have been the perfect weathered cowboy in the old west or rough and tough pioneer, or maybe he just should have been Amish.

Tim was the 4th of 8 kids, the bottom rung of the top tier (the big kids). Instead of taking his place on that rung, listening to the older kids and doing as he was told by his older siblings, he decided to anoint himself “king” of the 4 little kids. Tim spent his childhood and early adulthood ordering them around and in general, tormenting them. He was a great orator, (not like Shakespear, but more like Yogi Berra), as he always had something to say, and always had to get in the last word.

His position as “king” and orator was challenged by the nuns at St. Wenceslaus school in Spillville. He may have met his match. We’re not saying the nuns won, but they put up a good fight, we mean literally – he got into a fist-a-cuff with a nun. In fairness, she probably started it. You didn’t take a swing at Tim and not expect one back. Tim’s fondness for authority (his own – not others) followed him to South Winneshiek High School in Calmar and later into the Army. This provided for many interesting episodes and stories, detentions and demotions, and a few “run ins” with the law, not just locally, but globally.

Tim worked at Camcar/Stanley Black and Decker in Decorah as a tool and die maker for 30 plus years. Tim worked with many friends and “a bunch of morons.” His words, not ours. Well not exactly his words, because that would have included a bunch of swear words.

Tim leaves behind a hell of a lot of stuff that his family doesn’t know what to do with. So, if you are looking for a Virgin Mary in a bathtub shrine (you Catholics know what we’re talking about) you should wait the appropriate amount of time and get in touch with them.

Tomorrow would be fine.

He will be missed by his two granddaughters that he adored and taught to cuss, Peyton and MacKenna. Also left to keep the stories alive (but damn, there won’t be any new material) are his mother Mary Manning and siblings  and many nieces, nephews and cousins that wanted to hang out near him, because you just knew he was going to say or do something good. It’s not that he was such a great storyteller, it’s that he WAS the story!

To his siblings’ amazement he was actually able to snag a good woman, Cheryl Murray, and hold on to her for the past 13 years, and as far as we know restraints were not used. Tim also created great memories and stories for kids and grandkids.

He will be having a reunion with his infant daughter Ashley, his brother Duke, his dad Bill Schrandt, many aunts and uncles and a handful of cousins that passed before him. Tim was in charge of getting the beer and ice for our family reunions, so they will be happy to see him.

A common line in obituaries is “He never met a stranger,” in Tim’s case he never met a rule he couldn’t break, a boundary he couldn’t push, a line he couldn’t cross and a story he couldn’t stretch. Another common obituary phrase is “He’d give the shirt off his back,” well Tim was prepared to do that, and he could do it quickly, because he always wore his shirts unbuttoned ¾ the way down. 

Despite his crusty exterior, cutting remarks and stubbornness, there is actual evidence that he was a loving, giving and caring person. That evidence is the deep sorrow and pain in our hearts that his family feels from his passing.

Tim led a good life and had a peaceful death – but the transition was a bitch. And for the record, he did not lose his battle with cancer. When he died, the cancer died, so technically it was a tie! He was ready to meet his Maker, we’re just not sure “The Maker” is ready to meet Tim.

Good luck God!

We are considering establishing a Go-Fund-Me account for G. Heileman Brewing Co., the brewers of Old Style beer, as we anticipate they are about to experience significant hardship as a result of the loss of Tim’s business. Keep them in your thoughts.