ARLINGTON — Retired Major General Edmund G. Ripper was laid to rest on Thursday, and per the wishes outlined in his will, he was joined and forever entombed with copies of all of the PowerPoint slides that helped him throughout his 30-year career.
“It’s not the first time we’ve had such a … voluminous request,” said Miles O’Henry, a member of the Veterans Cemetery staff responsible for ensuring a decedent’s requests are carried out. “We’ve buried a person with his cat, plenty of medals, a necklace of severed human ears.”
“And now, we’ve buried a man with thousands of sheets of paper.”
Maj. Gen. Edmund leaves behind a wife, six children, nine grandchildren, and over 7,000 sheets of PowerPoint slides, each set in exactly the right combination of fonts, with notes on the transition effects printed at the top and bottom. One star wipe alone took almost 100 sheets of paper. Instead of pallbearers, a cadre of 42 service members each carried several stacks of paper alongside Edmund’s family members, though more than a few sheets got away from them.
“He truly loved his PowerPoint decks,” said Mrs. Elle Edmund, the general’s widow. “He would come home with a big smile on his face almost every night, and he wouldn’t stop talking about his slides! He said they were the only thing that helped him win in battle.”
“He suffered from dementia near the end, so he didn’t realize he and the other generals never won.”
As the funeral service came to a close, workers at the National Cemetery discussed the best way to bury all of the documents with the general. Some opted to cover the whole thing with dirt, making a mound, and others asked why it was even necessary.
“We could have just put this crap on a flash drive,” said a gravedigger who wished to remain anonymous. “I mean, we could have just thrown that in with the body and been done with it. But instead, I’m out here all night scooping up sheets of paper and laying them neatly in a grave!”
“Should have cremated him and his papers.”