Look around you. Do you trust these idiots to handle your funeral properly? Neither did Jim Gernhart. In 1951, this Colorado farmer planned his own funeral in detail and conducted a full dress rehearsal so people would know what to do when he wasn't around to supervise them.
The full story is in Life Magazine, June 18, 1951.
The Rev. S. H. Mahaffey's funeral sermon extolled Jim as a man who had done many kindnesses for individual townspeople without general knowledge (which is true), "Ain't that guy a preaching fool?" whispered Jim. And when the recorded strains of The Old Rugged Cross, one of the musical numbers he had personally selected, blared forth, tears came to Jim's eyes. "Real nice funeral, ain't it?" he sighed contentedly.
"It's real comfortable," said Jim, fingering the peach-colored velvet lining of his casket. "There aren't many guys get in one of these things and then get out"
"The Deceased" drove to the services in hearse, leaned out to wave gaily to friends seen en route.
"Does a man good to see so many people out to bury him"
'Turk' who threw himself a funeral every year would say the same thing.
The tombstone of Francis J. Moriarty is engraved, "It's better than waiting in line"
Francis J. Moriarty, known as Turk to his friends, because he loved Wild Turkey, decided on his tombstone at Mt. Benedict Cemetery in West Roxbury, well before he died.
He threw himself a funeral there each year near the end of his life. (He died at 73 in 1985.) It was always an affair to remember.Posted by Jill Fallon at February 18, 2013 11:48 AM | Permalink
''We made a plywood coffin we'd strap to the top of Billy Hunt's '66 Rambler American -- the car was worth about six cents -- and we'd drive to the cemetery," recalls Richie Polin, a friend of Turk. ''We'd put the bottles on top of the grave -- the headstone was already there. There'd be maybe a hundred of us. Turk would watch from a distance to see who came."
Some of the women who attended actually cried, despite the fact they knew Turk was lurking nearby. (According to Polin, Turk was a bank robber who did hard time for this pastime, later an employee of the Boston Housing Authority, and a poet whose talent was inversely proportional to the amount of bourbon he consumed.)
The whole motley crew would then repair to the now-defunct Sydney's on Green Street in Jamaica Plain -- a bar so named for the leviathan actor Sydney Greenstreet -- to continue the festivities. Perpetual gadfly Dapper O'Neil called the rite ''a most impressive ceremony," according to Jerry Burke.