LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Milton Andrew Munson’s obituary recalled his life as an Air Force veteran, a pharmacist, husband and father, and as a Nebraska football fan. That was evident in one line in the obit: “In lieu of flowers, please place an irresponsibly large wager on Nebraska beating Iowa.”
Munson, 73, died Nov. 16. The obit, written by Munson’s sons, ran Thursday in the Hastings Tribune, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. It caught fire on social media and captured the attention of two radio hosts, Josh Peterson, co-host of an afternoon sports talk show on KOZN-AM in Omaha and Jack Mitchell of KLIN-AM in Lincoln.
— Josh Peterson (@joshtweeterson) November 21, 2021
They decided to throw in some money and make a bet for the Huskers to pull an upset in Friday night’s game in Lincoln, but once word got out, listeners and others pitched in and the total grew to nearly $5,000.
“I mentioned it (Monday) on the air,” Peterson said. “We talked about it for four or five minutes and said ‘Here’s my Venmo if you want to donate.’ It’s blown up.”
Munson’s son, Todd, was on Peterson’s show Tuesday and said the family will give some of the money to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and will use some to bet on the Cornhuskers to beat the Hawkeyes, who are favored by a point-and-a-half.
Todd Munson, a writer who lives in Los Angeles, said he and his brother had a complicated relationship with their father, who battled bipolar disorder and addiction. But when they had a conversation, it almost always involved the Huskers.
“Milt, as he was known to friends, family, and scorned rivals, was born to Minnie and Milton Andrew Munson Sr. in Hastings, Nebraska on October 29, 1948,” according to his obituary in the Hastings Tribune. “Following his graduation from Hastings High, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Hickham Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii during the Vietnam War”
Milton Andrew Munson Jr.'s obituary asked those who cared for him to place an "irresponsibly large wager on Nebraska beating Iowa" in lieu of flowers. His sons didn't realize the honest obituary would gain national attention. #GoBigRed #Huskers #nebraska https://t.co/nDVnxVlzwz
— KMTV 3 News Now (@3NewsNowOmaha) November 25, 2021
Milton Munson’s love for the Huskers, and gambling, had to be part of his story, said Todd’s brother, Troy, a neurosurgeon in Des Moines, Iowa.
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez is out for Friday’s game, but Todd Munson wrote on Twitter that the Huskers will be getting some help from other places.
“If the ghost of my old man can’t will the Huskers to victory on Friday, then they truly are a lost cause.”