Daughter's vicious obituary for 'hateful and cruel' mum goes viral

Gayle Harvey Heckman accused her mum Linda Lerner Stull of being 'violent' and 'abusive' and said they had not spoken in 24 years.

A determined woman has hit back after a newspaper redacted the scathing obituary she penned for her “violent, hateful and cruel” mum.

Gayle Harvey Heckman wrote the shocking tribute, which has since gone viral, for Linda Lerner Stull in her hometown paper in the US state of Michigan earlier this month, beginning with the accusation that the deceased had lied to her daughter about the true identity of her biological father.

“Lernel then had Gayle adopted by her 2nd husband, Frank Randall Cullum. They divorced after a decade of marriage — Gayle never heard from Frank again,” the obit states.

Gayle Harvey Heckman's obituary to her mum Linda Lerner Stull printed in the newspaper.
The scathing obituary Gayle Harvey Heckman wrote for her mum Linda Lerner Stull in her hometown newspaper has gone viral. Source: X

Gayle then claims Linda’s third husband sexually abused her when she was 13-years-old. “Instead of protecting her daughter, Lernal accused Gayle of ‘trying to steal her husband’ and proceeded to beat her senselessly,” she said, adding that in between marriages, including a fourth to a prison inmate, “there were a variety of unsavoury men in and out of our home”.

“As a mother, Lernal was violent, hateful, and cruel. She physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally, and financially abused Gayle,” her daughter claimed.

“Lernell allowed for her many inappropriate suitors to sexually abuse Gayle. Lernel’s abuse continued into Gayles's adulthood, attempting to physically, verbally, emotionally, and mentally abuse her in front of her children. Gayle had to establish a no-contact order to protect herself and her family. That was 24 years ago.”

Daughter discover's biological dad's identity

Gayle said it wasn’t until March this year that she “unexpectedly” found out who her biological father was and is now “navigating the waters of getting to know” that side of her family.

“This is it. Lernal will never be the mother and grandmother that she could have chosen to be to her family. That door is closed forever with her death. That is what Gayle and her family grieve, who their mother and grandmother could have been,” the daughter wrote.

“While they are afraid that Gayle, her husband, and their 4 children can not share their grief, their heartache lies with Lernal's brothers and sisters, their aunts, uncles, and cousins, as they grieve the death of a complicated family member, whom they love very much.”

The obituary ends with the statement that Lernal will now “face judgement” and that she “will not be missed by Gayle or her family” because the world “is a much better place without her”.

Newspaper apologises for obituary

The “tribute” quickly went viral on X — formerly known as Twitter — after a stunned reader posted a photo of it online. Given the reaction, Willcox newspaper removed it from its website and published an apology, claiming it “was allowed through simply because it was submitted via [the] website” and processed automatically.

Annoyed by the move, Gayle has responded her truth “isn’t fake” but that the newspaper had made its stance clear.

“Well, honestly I wanted to write it for myself because I wanted to clear my name,” Gayle told the Sturgis Journal. “For 24 years and before that, my mother has had to come up with a reason as to why her daughter isn’t in her life that doesn’t make her look like a monster … I had to reclaim my name.”

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