'Hers was an itinerant, much-lived life, a Yankee Florida liberal Jewish Tough Gal who bowled 'em in Japan, rolled 'em in North Carolina and was a singularly unique parent.'
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 20, 2021. It has since been updated.
When crafting his late mother's obituary, Andy Corren of New York City clearly wanted to do justice to her "itinerant, much-lived life." This is very evident from his 996-word tribute to 84-year-old Renay Mandel Corren. His humorous reflection on her boisterous life leaves one with deep admiration and awe of "the bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redn*ck American family." Published in the Fayetteville Observer following Renay's death on December 11, 2021, the obituary reads: "A plus-sized Jewish lady redneck died in El Paso on Saturday. Of itself hardly news, or good news if you're the type that subscribes to the notion that anybody not named you dying in El Paso, Texas is good news."
Spoke to Andy Corren, whose very clever obituary about his mother went viral last night. And YES, he's just as funny as his writing. Someone please give this man a book deal! https://t.co/dRRhAmcbJA— DMartavia (@DMArtavia) December 16, 2021
"In which case have I got news for you: the bawdy, fertile, redheaded matriarch of a sprawling Jewish-Mexican-Redneck American family has kicked it. This was not good news to Renay Mandel Corren's many surviving children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, many of whom she even knew and, in her own way, loved," it continues. "There will be much mourning in the many glamorous locales she went bankrupt in: McKeesport, PA, Renay's birthplace and where she first fell in love with ham, and atheism; Fayetteville and Kill Devil Hills, NC, where Renay's dreams, credit rating and marriage are all buried; and of course Miami, FL, where Renay's parents, uncles, aunts, and eternal hopes of all Miami Dolphins fans everywhere, are all buried pretty deep."
A colorful obituary went viral this week. @scottdetrow talked to Andy Corren, Renay Mandel Corren’s son and author of her eulogy, about her life.https://t.co/zKy8oggUDs pic.twitter.com/wYNouODr3G— Weekend Edition (@NPRWeekend) December 19, 2021
"Because she was my mother, the death of zaftig good-time gal Renay Corren at the impossible old age of 84 is newsworthy to me, and I treat it with the same respect and reverence she had for, well, nothing," Corren wrote. "A more disrespectful, trash-reading, talking and watching woman in NC, FL or TX was not to be found. Hers was an itinerant, much-lived life, a Yankee Florida liberal Jewish Tough Gal who bowled 'em in Japan, rolled 'em in North Carolina and was a singularly unique parent."
Live your life in such a manner that Andy Corren is compelled to write your obituary. https://t.co/U1TS25sMRj— Mike Williams 🇺🇲 (@red_mcwilliams) December 16, 2021
And if his words gave off any misleading impression that Renay was a "model stay at home parent," Andy quickly put that to rest. "Renay - Rosie to her friends, and this was a broad who never met a stranger - worked double shifts with Doreen, ate a ton of carbs with Bernie, and could occasionally be stirred to stew some stuffed cabbage for the kids," he shared. "Hers was a bawdy, rowdy life lived large, broke and loud. We thought Renay could not be killed. God knows, people tried. A lot. Renay has been toying with death for decades, but always beating it and running off in her silver Chevy Nova. Covid couldn't kill Renay. Neither could pneumonia twice, infections, blood clots, bad feet, breast cancer twice, two mastectomies, two recessions, multiple bankruptcies, marriage to a philandering Sergeant Major, divorce in the 70's, six kids, one cesarean, a few abortions from the Quietly Famous Abortionist of Spring Lake, NC or an affair with Larry King in the 60's."
I used to do theater with Andy Corren who wrote the best obituary ever for his mother. He birthed the greatest moment on stage I've ever seen. Buy me a beer someday and I'll tell you about the epic majesty of #SquidDick. Til then, here's more about Andy: https://t.co/rfqEugSQDC— Bob DeRosa (@thembob) December 17, 2021
Corren—who described himself as Renay's "favorite son, the gay one who writes catty obituaries in his spare time"—concluded his now-viral tribute with details of a memorial service. "There will be a very disrespectful and totally non-denominational memorial on May 10, 2022, most likely at a bowling alley in Fayetteville, NC. The family requests absolutely zero privacy or propriety, none whatsoever, and in fact encourages you to spend some government money today on a 1-armed bandit, at the blackjack table or on a cheap cruise to find our inheritance, he wrote. "She spent it all, folks. She left me nothing but these lousy memories. Which I, and my family of 5 brothers and my sister-in-laws, nephews, friends, nieces, neighbors, ex-boyfriends, Larry King's children, who I guess I might be one of, the total strangers who all, to a person, loved and will cherish her. Forever. Please think of the brightly-frocked, frivolous, funny and smart Jewish redhead who is about to grift you, tell you a filthy joke, and for Larry King's sake: LAUGH. Bye, Mommy. We loved you to bits."
https://t.co/Mh2qXCmBGI— S.P.Duffy (@DuffyShannonP) December 17, 2021
Hilarious and heartwarming! If you don't fall in love with this lady after reading her gay son's riotously funny tribute, then I probably would not like you. Thank you for the laughs, Andy Corren.