Wisc. man surprised to read his own death notice in the paper

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a retraction two days later.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a retraction two days later.

Jim Radloff was at work when he saw his own death notice in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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Radloff, a 64-year-old resident of Port Washington, Wisc. is in fact alive and well. The false report of his death traces back to his daughter's boyfriend, who emailed the Journal Sentinel to take out the notice. Why? Well, Radloff and his daughter have a strained relationship, and Radloff told the Ozaukee Press that he guesses the notice was going to be used to cut him off from his grandchildren.

The Press was the first paper to get the death notice, but when one of the paper's reporters sniffed it out, he realized it smelled fishy: The funeral home that supposedly handled Radloff's services had no record of them, and the Press declined to run the notice. The paper also called Radloff, who confirmed he was alive, and then quickly placed a call to his daughter.

Days later, though, the notice appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"That's when the calls started coming in," Radloff said to the Ozaukee Press. "I must have told 10 or 11 people the whole story, until the minutes on my cell phone ran out."

After the notice ran, people stopped Radloff's wife on the street, and Radloff checked with the Social Security office to make sure that they hadn't made any changes in response to the announcement.

Two days after it ran Radloff's death notice, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel retracted it.

"The Death Notice for James E. Radloff, published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thurs., Nov. 7th, 2013, was printed in error," the retraction reads. "Mr. Radloff is NOT deceased. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regrets the error."

h/t: Romenesko

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