Man dies from COVID-19, and his obituary calls out anti-maskers

"He was not surrounded by friends and family," reads the powerful death notice for Kansas veterinarian Dr. Marvin J. Farr.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
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Every so often, an obituary gains viral attention, sometimes for being humorous, sometimes for being touching. The obituary for Dr. Marvin J. Farr of Scott City, Kansas, is one of the touching ones. Its writer, Farr's son Courtney Farr, directly calls out those who refuse to wear face masks to protect others from COVID-19, which killed his father.

"He was preceded in death by more than 260,000 Americans infected with COVID-19," Farr's obituary reads. "He died in a room not his own, being cared for by people dressed in confusing and frightening ways. He died with COVID-19, and his final days were harder, scarier and lonelier than necessary. He was not surrounded by friends and family."

The obituary notes that Farr was born in 1939, when Americans were about to be asked to ration food and supplies and to send their children off to fight and die in World War II. In comparison, Farr "died in a world where many of his fellow Americans refuse to wear a piece of cloth on their face to protect one another."

Farr was a farmer, a veterinarian and a churchgoer, the obituary notes, who "saw no conflict between the science of his professional life and the belief of his personal life."

Watch this: What you need to know about cleaning and reusing a virus mask

In a Facebook post, Courtney Farr wrote that most of the reaction to the obituary was positive, but that some people accused him of making the notice political.

"Well, his death was political," Farr replied. "He died in isolation with an infectious disease that is causing a national crisis. To pretend otherwise or to obfuscate is also a political decision."