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In obituary, children hit back at mother

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 5:42 p.m.

RENO — Anyone expecting a sweet remembrance of the life and times of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick was in for a surprise if they opened the obituary pages this week in the local newspaper.

“On behalf of her children whom she abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life, we celebrate her passing from this earth and hope she lives in the after-life reliving each gesture of violence, cruelty and shame that she delivered on her children,” the scathing obituary begins.

Now circling the globe on the Internet, the obit was written by Johnson-Reddick's adult children, whose horror stories prompted Nevada to become one of the first states to allow children to sever parental ties in the 1980s.

Johnson-Reddick died in a Reno nursing home Aug. 30 at 79, according to her daughter, Katherine Reddick, 57, now a psychology consultant for a school district outside Austin.

Katherine Reddick said she decided to share the story of their painful physical and mental abuse after consulting with her brother, Patrick Reddick, 58, who lives in Minden south of Carson City. They said they grew up with four siblings in a Carson City orphanage after they were removed from their mother's home and had been estranged from her for more than 30 years.

“Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit,” the obit reads. “Our greatest wish now is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.”

Six of Johnson-Reddick's eight children were admitted to the Nevada Children's Home from 1963 to 1964 after they endured regular beatings, sometimes with a metal-tipped belt, and other abuse at the hands of their mother, Patrick Reddick said. He said he's had phone calls from “all over the world” about the obituary.

“Everything in there was completely true,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday, describing her as a “wicked, wicked witch.”

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