Obituaries are traditionally known as a way to summarize or honor the life of someone who has recently passed away. But what if the deceased is someone who is not worth being honored?

This is the case for a woman in Three Rivers, Michigan. Linda Lernel Harvey Cullum Smith Stull passed away on December 12, 2023 at the age of 72. The obituary starts normally, establishing Linda's birthday before quickly diverging into a slugfest detailing the tumultuous life of Lernal, her four husbands, other "unsavory" men, and how they abused Lernel's firstborn child, Gayle Harvey Heckman.

The obituary for Linda Lernel Havery Cullum Smith Stull as featured in the Wilcox Newspaper.
The obituary for Linda Lernel Havery Cullum Smith Stull is featured in the Wilcox Newspaper. Photo found on Facebook.


To quickly summarize, Lernel "deceived her first husband into believing he was [Gayle's] biological father", her second husband adopted Gayle but they separated after 10 years. Her third husband sexually abused Gayle, and instead of protecting her daughter, Lernel "accused Gayle of trying to steal her husband and beat her senselessly. And to cap things off, her fourth husband Lernel met via the Jackson State Prison pen pal "program". From there, the obituary says a "variety of unsavory men" rotated in and out of the home.

The obituary goes on to describe Lernel as a mother:

She was "violent, hateful, and cruel" and physically, mentally, emotionally, verbally, and financially abused Gayle, and allowed her to be sexually abused by her suitors.

Incredibly, things go even further downhill from there. The obituary details how in March of 2023, Gayle found out her mother lied about who her father was, discovering who her actual father was via a DNA service.

The events of this obituary seem like something of a work of fiction, but unfortunately, this is not the case. The obituary ends with one final, good-riddance quote:

Lernal will not be missed by Gayle or her family. They all understand that f

The obituary was originally published in the local newspaper, Wilcox Newspaper, before being removed from the website after complaints flooded the publisher. Mike Wilcox, owner of Wilcox Newspaper, claims it was published "without a good look on our part." Its removal sparked further outrage from the Heckman family, claiming the paper was protecting child abusers.


This entire story is heartbreaking, and our thoughts are with the family at this time. If you or someone you know is or has suffered from child abuse, resources can be found here.

Editors note: We would like to point out the various spellings of Linda's maiden name throughout the article, as it appears to be spelled Lernel, Lernal, and Lernell. While we do not want to question the validity of the claims made, we do want to address these inconsistencies. An alternate obituary can be found here.

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