Billy Standley of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, loved his Harley. For eighteen years, the former ranch hand and rodeo rider told people he wanted to be buried astride his 1967 Harley Davidson Electra Guide cruiser. And now, his family has helped that dream to come true.
Standley’s motorcycle helped him, he said, to retain a sense of adventure after he settled down to raise four children. So for years, he planned the elaborate funeral that would let him take it with him–and let the world watch through the sides of his custom-crafted Plexiglas coffin.
Last week, at the age of 82, Standley rode into eternity on his beloved Harley, surrounded by his trophies and well-worn leathers. To bring his dream to fruition, his sons Pete and Roy fashioned a casket for the motorcycle aficionado out of Plexiglas, reinforcing the bottom with wood and steel rods to handle the extra weight. Five embalmers prepared his body, adding a metal back brace and straps to ensure that his body could ride upright. Three extra burial plots were required at the Fairview Cemetery in Mutual, along with a 9-by-11 foot septic tank, so that Standley and his motorcycle could rest in peace alongside his wife Lorna.