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SALT LAKE CITY (CBS Las Vegas) – Before dying, a clear conscience is necessary for some people. For one Utah man who wrote his own obituary, admitting to not having a doctorate degree and stealing a safe 41 years earlier could wait until after his passing.

Val Patterson, 59, died from throat cancer on July 10. Before he died, however, he decided to write his own obituary last fall. As it turns out, he used the space to not just say goodbye, but to also come clean. In his obituary posted by the Salt Lake Tribune, Patterson outlines how he never received a doctoral degree from the University of Utah and how he stole a safe in 1971.

“What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the [University of Utah], the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail,” Patterson wrote in the obituary. “I didn’t even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters ‘PhD’ even stood for.

“For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, 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.”

The obituary, written in the first-person, is honest and paints a picture of a man with no regrets.

“As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971,” Patterson wrote. “I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest.”

Patterson’s widow, Mary Jane, said the confessions are true, according to KSL-TV.


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