An Iowa journalist, known for his comedic storytelling and light-heartedness, penned his own impressive obituary ahead of his death on Jan. 3.
Ken Fuson died of liver cirrhosis at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He was 63.
Fuson clearly remained in positive spirits during his final days, working in plenty of jokes in his obituary, which was shared in the Des Moines Register his former paper.
The late journalist kicked off his final piece of writing by making the wisecrack that while he was dead he “is stunned to learn that the world is somehow able to go on without him.”
He also hilariously looked back on his career, explaining that he knew he wanted to be a journalist in high school.
“He covered sports for the Woodward Enterprise before leaving for the University of Missouri-Columbia. He attended the university’s famous School of Journalism, which is a clever way of saying, ‘almost graduated but didn’t,'” Fuson wrote.
He shared that in 1981 he landed his dream job as a reporter at the Des Moines Register, “where he was probably best known for writing a one-paragraph, one-sentence weather story that has been reprinted in four books.”
Fuson also wrote of his decision to leave the Des Moines Register, revealing “The Sun in Baltimore offered him more money.”
In addition to sharing his accomplishments, Fuson was also honest about the darker times in his life.
He explained that three years after moving to The Sun, he returned to the Register after “having blown most of that money at Pimlico Race Track.”
“Ken suffered from a compulsive gambling addiction that nearly destroyed him. But his church friends, and the loving people at Gamblers Anonymous, never gave up on him. Ken last placed a bet on Sept. 5, 2009. He died clean,” Fuson wrote of himself.
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Fuson credits his faith in Jesus Chris for transforming his life. He was a member of the First Methodist Church in Indianola.
Despite his addiction, Fuson managed to have an extremely successful career.
He stayed with the Register until 2008. While there, he won “several national feature-writing awards, including the Ernie Pyle Award, ASNE Distinguished Writing Award, National Headliner Award, Missouri Award (twice) and Distinguished Writing Award in the Best of Gannett contest (five times, but who’s counting),” Fuson shared hilariously adding, “No, he didn’t win a Pulitzer Prize, but he’s dead now, so get off his back.”
Fuson shared he also wrote the book Heading for Home with Kent Stock, which tells the story of the 1991 Norway baseball team that won the state championship in its final season.
After leaving the Register, Fuson began working in the marketing department at Simpson College where he remained until 2018.
The following year Fuson was diagnosed with liver disease, which he wrote was “ironic” due to the fact that he rarely drank.
“Eat your fruits and vegetables, kids,” Fuson wrote.
Most of all, Fuson expressed his undeniable love for his family.
“He is survived by his sons, Jesse and Max, and his stepson, Jared Reese, who all brought Ken unsurpassed Joy. He hopes they will forgive him for not making the point more often. He loved his boys and was (and is) extraordinarily proud to be their father.”
Fuson also joked “Ken had many character flaws — if he still owes you money, he’s sorry, sincerely — but he liked to think that he had a good sense of humor and a deep compassion for others. he would give you the shirt off his back, even with the ever-present food stain. Thank goodness nobody asked. It wouldn’t have been pretty.”
As his one last wish, Fuson jokingly requested “that everyone wear black armbands and wail in public during a one-year grieving period.”
However, if that was too big of a task, Fuson kindly asked everyone to donate a book to the public libraries in Granger or Indianola.
Fuson concluded his “too long” obituary encouraging his loved ones to “Embrace every moment.”
“See you in heaven. Ken promises to let you cut in line.”
Fuson will be laid to rest on Saturday at the Lutheran Church of Hope.
A GoFundMe has also been launched for Fuson’s family. The page has raised over $10,000 at this time.