Family pens legendary obituary for dad: 'Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey'
It was an obituary bigger than life, and every word of it was true.
Well, maybe not the part about dying stark naked while drinking Veuve Clicquot with Al Green blaring from the house speakers.
But Chris Connors, 67, most certainly lived a big life and his daughter, Caitlin, knew that his obituary had to be just as big – with no sentimental drivel and lots of hard laughs.
Its headline: "Irishman Dies from Stubbornness, Whiskey."
Connors, a former New York City bond trader who chucked it all after 9/11 and moved to tranquil York, Maine, left this world last Friday after a bare-knuckled battle against ALS and pancreatic cancer.
In his life he had shot bears in Russia, been a skinny Golden Gloves boxer, walked into a lion's cave and shot a lion, and tried to circle the globe in boat, which sank, leaving him adrift of the coast of Panama, where he was rescued by a banana boat.
"He was a great guy to be around and he never complained. Never complained," his daughter told InsideEdition.com. "When he passed, I said 'Oh, my God. I have to do my father proud.'''
She knows in her heart that she did. She had help from her cousin, and from a little Dutch courage. "The obituary had to be about living life. We didn't want anyone to be sad," she said.
There's not a treacly thread to be found in the memorial - only keen wit and gritty humor.
"He lived 1,000 years in the 67 calendar years we had with him because he attacked life; he grabbed it by the lapels, kissed it, and swung it back onto the dance floor," the obit reads.
"At the age of 26 he planned to circumnavigate the world - instead, he ended up spending 40 hours on a life raft off the coast of Panama. In 1974, he founded the Quincy (Mass.) Rugby Club. In his thirties, he sustained a knife wound after saving a woman from being mugged in New York City.
"Throughout his life, he was an accomplished hunter and birth control device tester (with some failures, notably Caitlin Connors, 33; Chris Connors, 11; and Liam Connors, 8)," his family wrote.
Caitlin left her home in Philadelphia four months ago to help her dad on his last journey. He arranged hospice care and Caitlin and the rest of the family sat with him, joked with him and were highly amused when, just days before he died, Chris would flip them the bird.
"He used to throw parties and he would just go to bed whenever he wanted," his daughter recounted. His exit line was "I love you, I'm going to bed!"
Around 2 a.m., he would come downstairs, "in his PJs or his underwear and pour himself a screwdriver and start all over again," Caitlin said.
The neighbors in his upscale area would call the cops to complain about the noise, especially when Chris would fill the canons on his cliffside property with fireworks and unleash an unholy cacophony of explosions.
But the cops never came because "the police chief was his best friend and all the firemen were at the party," Caitlin said.
On the day he died, his family sat around his bed. Caitlin was lying with him, her hand on his heart. She felt it stop beating.
The Irish clan uncorked a bottle of champagne, cried, and toasted Chris Connors. They cried some more and drank some more.
Ultimately, two men arrived to remove the body.
One of them said to those assembled, "Do you think you could remove the champagne glasses so we can get to your dad?"
Chris Connors would have howled at that, his daughter said.
Instead of a funeral, there is a wake on Monday at a bar during happy hour.
On Connors' online obituary, strangers have posted they plan to attend.
"I did not know Chris, but I now have a new set of goals for how to remind people to live: either be the person that this obituary is describing or be the people (who) have the sense to write it," read a post signed "Matt S."
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to The Chris Connors Fund, which promotes water safety, or "please pay (the) open bar tab."