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May 22, 2017

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US man publishes obituary — while still alive

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan -- A Michigan man has published his own obituary and scheduled his own memorial service after stopping cancer treatment.

Bob Eleveld, 80, announced this week that he will host a "celebration of life" open house on Saturday in lieu of a funeral. Eleveld also published an obituary on March 12 with the date range "8/3/1936 - Not Yet," the Grand Rapids Press reported.

"Yes this is unconventional, and yes some people think it's a little weird," Eleveld's daughter, Kerry Eleveld, said. But she added that having an end-of-life party fits her father's personality perfectly.

"Long before he had cancer, he would always say, `Don't throw a funeral for me. Have a party,"' she said. "This feels like the perfect way to honor my father, because it's the way he wants to do it. It seems perfectly fitting."

Bob Eleveld is a Grand Rapids attorney who has also been involved in politics as a local Republican Party chairman, a state representative candidate and a member of the East Grand Rapids City Commission. He began treatment for a rare form of leukemia in May 2015, but has now stopped.

"Hel-'LO'! This is Bob Eleveld," his obituary begins. "As I write this notice, I am still with you, although my doctors have informed me that this status will change in the near future. I have decided, however, to eschew the normal process of others celebrating my life after I die and, instead, would like to celebrate your lives with me."

Kerry Eleveld said her father's celebration plans raise questions about how people deal with death.

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