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Meet the South Texas Man Who Found Out He Was Dead

Image courtesy Frank Tilley/Victoria Advocate
DeFriend shares his story with The Victoria Advocate.

From Texas Standard:

85-year-old Wharton County rancher Mark DeFriend was living his life as usual and was shocked to learn that he’d been declared dead. DeFriend first contacted The Victoria Advocate to talk about his life-after-death experience. Now, he joins the Standard to share his story.

On how the mix-up happened:

“The lady that waited on me was very helpful and considerate and I said, ‘I can’t understand how somebody can say…’ and she said, ‘Mr. DeFriend, there is a delete on the computer and a dismiss and a demised – and in a hurry sometimes they’ll hit that demise.’ So she said this happens all the time is what she told me.”

On how he found out he was dead:

“I was supposed to have an appointment with the doctor. I gave the lady my medical cards and she started working on the computer, and then she said something to another lady in there and she got a book off of a shelf in the back of the room and brought it over there and I said, ‘Little lady, what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Well, Mr. DeFriend, they just told us that you were dead, died on June 6.’ And this was July 2… You know, it kind of shocks you when somebody tells you you’re dead and you’re standing up there in front of them… I said, ‘Put whoever told you that on the telephone and I can cuss them in about three languages – they’ll know I’m still alive.'”

On the hassle of coming back to life:

“I learned later on, about a week later, I sent a little money to several Christian organizations trying to get the Gospel that Jesus was here and is coming back again and all that and they sent me a check that I had sent them, said they’d tried to run it three times and they said it was unavailable or something… I called them and I said, ‘No, there’s still money in the bank, I don’t know what’s going on. Come to find out the banks every morning get a printout or a computer communication of who died and your bank account is sealed… I stopped by social security and I called them and he said, after I gave him all the information, he said, ‘I believe you.’ And he said, ‘Now you’ve got to go to Victoria and appear and take all your documents — my marriage license and my birth certificate and my driver license with my ugly picture on the front of it — and they had to get my history corrected. In fact, I told that lady, ‘Tell them I’m only 75, I don’t want to be 85 anymore.’ She said, ‘Oh, I can’t do that!'”

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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