Val Patterson admits to crime, having fake PhD in obituary

Before the Utah man died of throat cancer, he decided to write his own first-person obituary

Val Patterson was a devoted husband who loved the mountains, his pets, school, science and most of all, his wife.

"The one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane," he wrote last fall. "I loved her more than I have words to express."

The man born in 1953 in Salt Lake City, died of throat cancer on July 10 and before passing away, wrote his own first-person obituary. But his isn't quite like most would expect.

He starts off by discussing what he enjoyed in life but then moved in to talking about how he committed a crime and how he never received a degree even though he needed it for his job.

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"Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say," he wrote. He goes on to confess to stealing a safe from the Motor View Drive Inn in 1971 because he wanted to get it off his chest.

He also confesses to not having a PhD. It appears a filing mistake lead to Patterson being sent the incorrect diploma. In fact, he didn't even finish his undergraduate degree and only had about three years of credit.

"I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for."

But that didn't stop him from getting an engineering job and he goes on to apologize to the electrical engineers with which he worked.

"I'm sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work."

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He also apologizes to a Park Ranger for rolling rocks into a geyser and tells Disneyland and SeaWorld they can throw away the "Banned for Life" files on him.

His wife, Mary Jane, told KSL that everything her husband said was true. And it appears Patterson's passing will be felt by many more people than his wife. His 'Condolences' page on the Starks Funeral Parlor website is filled with people raving about Patterson even if they didn't know him.

"Amazing and beautiful! I don't know you, but you left a mark on my soul today after reading your obituary," writes Rebecca Gardner.

"I'm so in awe of this man and his outlook on life," writes Michelle Smith.

While part of the obituary is his confessions, he says the one person he really stole from was his wife of 33 years. He admits to feeling invincible when he was younger and smoking cigarettes despite knowing they were bad for him. "I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments."