Neal's Wiki Will & Testament

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This one's a work in progress. Nevetheless, some quickies:

End of Life Issues

  • Don't pull the plug if my brain's still active, unless it becomes a financial burden on my family.
  • Be wary of doctors and medical professionals who will say "the brain's not active" or "there's no hope" in order to make space for the next patient. Time is a great healer (that and near freezing temperatures). And by time, I mean more time than most in the medical community are currently comfortable with.
  • If there is even the slimmest, slightest glimmer of hope...I want to live.
  • Having observed many, many deaths, I'm not a big fan of hospice or excessive use of painkillers--sometimes pain & struggle is what keeps a person going.
  • While my wife and children have the final say, if my mother is still living, I trust her advice, judgment and medical expertise in these matters.

If death has happened or is inevitable

  • My primary preference is to be cryogenically frozen, through ALCOR or a similar reputable organization. I realize this is expensive, and I do not want it do be done at the expense of my family's financial security. However, I currently have two different life insurance policies: One through the PCUSA, and one supplemental through Mike Duchouquette (via Banner Life, I think). If one of these will take care of my family and the other can be used (by designating ALCOR as beneficiary, for example) for cryogenics...then freeze me, and I'll see you in a century or two.
  • If cryogenically freezing my body is not possible, then please consider the following:
    • I'm very much against the idea of cremation and organ donation--since I'm still holding out hope for an actual bodily resurrection at some point in the distant future. Please leave the future scientists (aka "agents of God") as much to work with as possible. The only exception I'd make to this is if someone close to me that I love has a compelling need for one of my organs in order to live.
    • I do NOT want an expensive coffin. Cheap, unpolished or unfinished wood. Like my Dad's. If possible and practical, use one of these. It's a simple rectangular one made by trappist cistercian monks at New Melleray in Iowa.
    • Bury me in El Paso, maybe the cemetery in Santa Teresa close to Grandpa Ruben. If not there, then in Austin, close to my Dad. Most importantly...wherever my children can easily visit.

Remembering Me: Memorial Service

  • If my bodily remains are present (and not frozen somewhere)...
    • Put me in a bow-tie. One of my favorite ones.
    • Toss a copy of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath in the casket, and maybe one of my favorite beers, too. It's not superstitious, just a nice symbolic touch.


  • It would be awesome to play a few of my own songs at my memorial service. You can use recordings.
  • If they're willing and able (and they may not be, that's ok), my wife and children are all phenomenal musicians. I love when they play and sing together.
  • My two favorite hymns, one from childhood and the other from adulthood: "Are Ye Able Said the Master" (in the Methodist Hymnal) and "I Greet Thee Who My Sure Redeemer Art" (in the Presbyterian Hymnal).
  • Bagpipes and Drums. All of them, or as many as possible.
  • Not sure if this one is possible, but I love the song Helvegen from Wardruna. Grady could pull it off.


  • Scripture Passages: Matthew 13:52, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Job 28 (the whole thing).
  • Just for fun, the Lord's prayer ought to be said in Old English (Anglo-Saxon). By anyone who can.
  • In a memorial service, please try to avoid attributing theologies to me that I did not espouse in life. For more about what I believe when it comes to the afterlife, see Notes on Heaven and Hell.
  • If he is willing and able, Grady should speak. As the eldest son, I spoke at my father's funeral on my family's behalf. Grady knows my thoughts and speaks with my voice.
  • Other Speakers: Fernando Gandara (from Vitolas Cigar & Whiskey Lounge) has been like a pastor to me. Also Philip Lotspeich and Bill Schlesinger.

Other Things

  • A virtual funeral in Second Life would be really cool. Bury me under the monastery microbrewery?
  • If it's financially possible and not a burden, please don't shut down my blogs, wikis, social network profiles and other web presences. Or at least print them out. It might be the best way for my children (or grandchildren) to get to know me someday.
  • Also, there's a lot of stuff on my thumbdrives and memory cards that is part of who I am.
  • If you want to honor my memory:
    • Use Open Source Software. It's better anyhow.
    • Listen to Woody Guthrie. What he has to say still matters.
    • Read a Book. Better yet, read a book to a child.

To Amy

  • You are and will always be the great love story of my life, and I am grateful to have shared so many years and memories with you.
  • If someday, someone comes into your life who makes you happy, respects you, and recognizes how amazing you are, you deserve that, and I want that for you. Don't make that person wait 9.5 years.

To Grady, Abby and Jonah

  • I want each of you to know that I love you greatly, more than anything in the world, and I am proud of everything you do, and who you are.
  • I lost my father sooner than I would have wished--but found many good "father figures" later in my life. You will too, and that's okay.

See you again soon.