A “cheeky” Gold Coast businesswoman had the last laugh as mourners at her funeral turned from somber to amused when she delivered a final gag from the grave.
Neumann Group director Michelle Neumann, 63, of Queensland, Australia, died following an extended battle with cancer, and as 250 guests sat to honor the woman with a “wicked” sense of humor, a plane flew overhead towing a banner that read “I’m watching you…Cry harder, M XXX.”
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) September 15, 2022
Twitter lauded the woman’s forethought, having booked the plane before her death, with many writing “I’m so doing this!”
Im so doing this https://t.co/DJidnjFseU
— LaraInTheMiddle (@LaraInTheMiddle) September 16, 2022
Others suggested Queen Elizabeth should follow suit at her services on September 19.
I hope her majesty pulls a stunt like this.. you’ve got to laugh. https://t.co/4MvAeawM73
— Bianca Stone (@Bianca_Stone) September 15, 2022
Neumann’s children Spencer and Gene Deriz told the Courier Mail that their socialite mother had a “wicked sense of humor and a laugh that would fill the room,” making the prank most fitting for her final goodbye.
“She was a practical joker who acted like a teenager among her friends and lived life to the full, whether it be skiing, surfing, jet skiing or hiking,” said her children. “She also had a fond love for cooking, as well as cryptic, trivia and sudoku puzzles.”
Friends, loved ones and strangers were moved by the lighthearted gift she gave to those who gathered to honor her.
“She certainly was a character,” Cath Channon posted on Facebook. “Fly high chick.”
“How funny, what a sense of humour she had,” Nonie Daniel posted. “Thinking of her family, hope they had some good chuckles amongst the tears.”
Neumann garnered some new fans with the gag.
“Good on you. Love it, would have made everyone cry with laughter,” Fraser Djuna wrote in response to a post by Australia’s Today Show.
According to the Daily Mail, “Neumann was highly regarded in construction and mineral industries for her tenacity and business acumen” and her “Currumbin-based family business also saw her father Robert Neumann at one stage become the Gold Coast mayor.”
Robert Neumann and his father Alfred established the family’s first business, Currumbin Minerals, a small sand mining business in 1948, which is still in operation today.
Neumann took over the reins of the $300 million Neumann Group in 1996, after the death of her father.
“She had little knowledge of the business at the time, having previously been a travel agent and Qantas sales executive, but quickly became an accomplished and respected businesswoman,” News.com.au reported.
Neumann received a Bachelor’s degree from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a Ph.D. in politics and education from Columbia University.
Neumann leaves behind two sons, Spencer and Gene Deriz, siblings Marc and Kathy Neumann, and former husband Gary Deriz.
“During her lifetime, Ms Neumann was also an avid philanthropist and held parties to raise money for brain cancer research after the death of her sister to the disease,” the Daily Mail reported. “Her ashes were scattered into the sea from Currumbin Beach following the memorable service at the Neumann family farm.”
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