When Val Patterson was diagnosed with throat cancer he knew he was going to die - and decided to write his own obituary to get a few things off his chest.
In it, he admits to having a fake PhD, stealing a safe from a motel in 1972 and having been banned from both Sea World and Disney World.
However, the touching tribute to his wife and passion for science has also seen the obituary move thousands of people around the world.
Mr Patterson, of Salt Lake City in Utah, America, died on July 10 aged 59, but penned his obituary just under a year ago and it was published in the Salt Lake Tribune.
It begins be describing his work in the field of science and his love for his wife Mary Jane, writing: "The one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express."
He then goes on to admit a few "confessions and things I should say now".
Mr Patterson writes: "As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest...
"Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn't even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for.
"Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again.
"To Disneyland - you can now throw away that "Banned for Life" file you have on me, I'm not a problem anymore - and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this."
He then goes on to admit his only regret in life was smoking cigarettes and having "robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together".
However, his obituary has already touched family, friends and strangers, with the Condolences Page of the Starks Funeral Home filled with comments, receiving 100,000 hits a minute, and temporarily closed as it is unable to deal with the traffic.
Cindy Missler wrote: "Amazing man, sorry for your loss Mrs. Patterson. My desire to quit smoking has just come to a head. Thank you."While Cheryl Davis Malkemus added: "Found his obit through metafilter. Didn't even know the guy but readIng it brought a lump to my throat. If he was as cool as he sounds, his family and friends were lucky to have known him."
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