KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With Gary Bean's death came a startling confession: it was indeed he who stole the dog from a picnic table all those years ago.
The 65-year-old died last Tuesday and his hilarious obituary, published in the News Sentinel on Wednesday morning, is making rounds on social media.
The witty obit starts off by telling the story of how Bean stole a dog named Maggie, whose original owner had chained her to a North Knoxville picnic table. That's who is addressed in the scathing quasi confessional.
"He considered talking to you about it," the obituary reads, "but you were never around, and it didn't take [Gary] long to decide that anybody mean enough to treat a dog like that wasn't worth talking to anyway."
Before long, Bean had applied a bolt cutter to her chain, loaded her onto his truck, and renamed her Maggie. She lived a long and happy life, "which was doubtless way longer than it would have been if she'd stayed chained to your picnic table," the obituary scathed.
Bean wasn't just a lover of dogs. The obituary also said he loved all animals and was "a country boy and an avid reader." He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in forestry, and spent time in Houston and New Orleans before settling down in permanently in Knoxville.
The writer of the tribute is a longtime reporter and current KnoxTN writer Betty Bean, according to the Knox News Sentinel.
Long live Gary Bean, lover of critters and protector of pups.
To the owner of the big skinny dog that disappeared from your North Knoxville front yard where you had chained her to a picnic table:
Gary Bean stole her.
He was working in your neighborhood and would slow down and look every time he’d drive past your house. He considered talking to you about it, but you were never around, and it didn’t take him long to decide that anybody mean enough to treat a dog like that wasn’t worth talking to anyway, so he applied bolt cutter to chain, loaded her into his truck and went on the lam.
She had a home and a new name by the weekend. Her new people called her Maggie and loved her for the rest of her life, which was doubtless way longer than it would have been if she’d stayed chained to your picnic table. That was many years ago, and the dog stealing statute has long since run, so there’s nothing you can do about it now, if you’re still around.
And even if you are, Gary’s out of your reach. He died last Thursday without ever once regretting setting Maggie free. Truth to tell, you probably weren’t his only victim. Gary never met a critter he didn’t love and wasn’t about to let technicalities stop him from acting on his convictions.
Gary Michael Bean was born on the 4th of July 1954 at St. Mary’s Hospital to Mercedes and Albert Bean. A country boy and an avid reader, he went to school at Ritta Elementary and Gibbs High where he made many friends, played football, butted heads with teachers and was named Senior Class Favorite. He studied forestry at UT before heading out to live in New Orleans and Houston for awhile before returning to Knoxville. He was kindhearted, funny, friendly and generous past the point of reason.
He lived 65 years and a month and was predeceased by his father, grandparents, Ralph and Marion Bean and Luci Gonzalez, as well as by his brothers John and Butch. Survivors include brothers Richard and David, sisters Jeanette and Betty plus numerous nieces and nephews, companion Becky Sharp and many friends.
There will be no formal funeral service, but Gary’s friends and family will be welcomed to an evening of remembering at a later date.