Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

My friend Larry Marten’s father passed away last week and Larry set out to build his coffin. But figuring how to build a coffin was the easy part of this DIY story.

The Coffin Larry Built

Larry wanted to bring his father’s body from the hospital in Sacramento to the mortuary in his hometown about 60 miles north. He was told by the hospital and its doctors that there was no way he could do it. Yet he wouldn’t take no for an answer and his persistence is the real DIY story here.

He was required to get a permit from the county to transport his father. The woman at the county office said that they don’t issue permits to individuals but to businesses licensed to do this work. She refused to issue the permit but Larry refused to leave without one. He thinks that he just finally wore her down and he got the permit.

At every point, he met resistance as though it was the craziest thing they’d ever heard of. Only professionals are allowed to do it, he was told, and there are all kinds of regulations. He was determined, however, and in the end, everyone at the hospital and county turned around and became helpful and came to respect his decision.

Larry said they brought his father’s body out on the stretcher to the loading dock, which was strangely situated next to the cafeteria. He picked up his father, and by himself, placed the body in the coffin in the back of his truck. Larry told me that he felt his father was with him, driving up I-5 to the small town of Orland.

When he got the body to the mortuary, the mortician couldn’t believe it. Earlier in the day, the mortician had said that there was no way Larry would be allowed to move the body himself.

After a day, the mortician called Larry to say that the coffin he built was too large, despite the fact that the same mortician had given him the dimensions. He said it wouldn’t fit inside the vinyl vault that goes in the ground before the coffin. Larry asked if it was necessary and they said the vault was required. (You’d think they could dig a bigger hole if needed.) The mortician called back and said that maybe they could pour a vault out of concrete, but they’d have to remove the handles from the coffin. Larry had saved hinges and pulls from his father’s family farmhouse in Nebraska and had put them on the coffin.

Larry is a retired UPS driver and he loves woodworking, which he does in his garage. This is where he made his father’s coffin, and where he kept collected pieces of lumber and things like the pulls he had recovered from a visit to Nebraska.

The mortuary had insisted on the vault, and they would charge several thousand dollars for it. Finally, even they relented The mortician called back mid-week to say that the vault wasn’t really required, after all.

Larry’s father was 92 years old when he died, and last Friday, he was buried in a finely crafted coffin of his son’s own making. It was the end of a long journey back home.

More:
DIY Coffin-Making

Dale Dougherty

I’m founder of MAKE magazine and creator of Maker Faire. I am CEO of Maker Media, the company that produces MAKE, Maker Faire and Maker Shed. I am Chairman of the Maker Education Initiative (www.makered.org).


Related

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s a great story.

    Regarding all the “This is required.” “Well, okay, it’s not.” that he ran into, I recommend Jessica Mitford’s “The American Way of Death”, which looks at the mortuary industry.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great story, and I’m sure his father would have been touched by Larry’s insistence on making his father’s final journey such a personal one.

  3. JLStreet says:

    Such a sweet story. I really like the idea of using materials from the Nebraska homeplace for the coffin. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Respect!

  5. Amazing and inspiring story. It’s such a shame that the funeral industry still attempts to shut out individuals from being part of the process, and for someone like Larry who’s already going through grief, the extra bureaucracy put in place by people trying to make money is absolutely cruel. Still, I’m glad to hear that Larry persevered, and hope that his story inspires others to take a bigger role in memorial and burial services.

    Shirley at The Modern Mourner
    http://www.modernmourner.blogspot.com/

  6. I know one person whose family has been in the funeral business and is now doing a “green funeral”/family funeral consultation. There aren’t all those laws against doing such things, it’s probably it’s just easier paperwork-wise for those folk.

  7. Anonymous says:

    thanks for your share
    i love this blog
    http://www.laptop-battery-store.ca

  8. Anonymous says:

    While in this particular case a vault was not required, it should be pointed out that some cemeteries DO require a concrete vault in order to control problems with grave settling. (The coffin will eventually be crushed by the earth piled on top, creating a maintenance and safety headache for the cemetery.) In this case, the cemeteries usually offer a basic vault that is less expensive than the vaults offered by the funeral home. (Incidentally, I have trouble seeing how a vinyl vault is helpful for any purpose.)

    1. Anonymous says:

      I think the vinyl vault is to keep toxic embalming fluids from entering the groundwater. It’s probably required by local regulations, and the mortuary was taking a bit of a risk in waiving it. Kudos to the guys who buck the bureaucracy and let someone deal with death with dignity.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I’m assuming the vinyl container is a box, and not a large bag. If it were a bag, I can see a vinyl container keeping the chemicals from leaching out, at least for a while. But if a vinyl box breaks, the chemicals will leach out. (And unless the bag is very heavy duty, I can imagine it damaging the bag when the coffin finally crushes.)

        Some of the less expensive vaults I mentioned have holes in them. The reason is that in some places, sealed vaults became buoyant, and during severe flooding, came up through the softened turf, and floated away. This problem came up after Hurricane Katrina, and after flooding on the Mississippi River some years back.

        In any case it is important to remember that government regulations and cemetery rules vary from place to place and establishment to establishment, and it is important to check on these before taking action. (But even justifiable regulations are going to make the whole matter more bureaucratic.)

        Looking back at the original article, Larry might have had less trouble getting the permit to transport his father’s remains, if he had been able to enlist the assistance of a sympathetic funeral director, ideally the one who handled the final disposition of the remains. Maybe a phone call from the undertaker might have got the county official to issue the permit immediately. OTOH, if issuing the permit to Larry was truly illegal, I doubt that the county official would have issued it, no matter how long Larry argued.

      2. VRAndy says:

        The story has no mention that the body was embalmed. So I doubt anybody was taking a ‘risk’ by not sealing the body in vinyl.

  9. This is such a sad commentary on our society, where even the act of dying has been corporatized and profitized. It seems like there’s no better way for this man to honor his father and deal with his grief than to make the coffin and be involved in the process of burial. And there is absolutely no reason that burying a loved one should cost thousands of dollars.

    My husband’s grandmother died last year, and her coffin was built by her daughter & son-in-law (from trees they’d harvested themselves), her body was dressed by her (adult) children, the flowers for her funeral were gathered from the land that she’d lived her whole life on, her funeral was led by her son, her coffin was lowered in the hole by her grandsons, and she was buried in the family cemetery next to her husband (not in a vault). It was wonderful and meaningful to all who attended and participated in the ceremony of saying goodbye to the family matriarch— but very much an exception to the way things are “normally done.”

    Basically, all the funeral home did was keep the body between her death & burial, and transport it to the cemetery.

    1. “Basically, all the funeral home did was keep the body between her death & burial, and transport it to the cemetery.”

      And I’ll bet they charged you at least $2,500 for that “service”.

      1. I have no doubt that they charged an obscene sum for the small amount they did. (I wasn’t involved with the financial aspects of the funeral referenced above.) And it’s not as though you can shop around for funeral services, particularly in a small town. It is a case of taking advantage of people when they are the most vulnerable, and also playing on people’s emotions with the idea that if you truly loved the deceased person, then you should show your love by being willing to spend any sum of money to “honor” them. I think that in reality, it works the opposite way. Of the funerals (and weddings) that I’ve attended, the most beautiful and meaningful have also been the least expensive because the organizers of the event replaced cold cash with thoughtfulness & creativity, and sincere expressions of emotion.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The mortuary business is a huge scam, they charge way more than they should, coffins cost an excessive amount, and the service prices are insane. Often these decisions are made while mourning and in grief, and often they claim they can’t get around this price gouging. I’m glad to see Larry did, and it’s a good story.

  11. There’s a green burial movement to allow families to bury loved ones outside of the funeral industry, and slowly the industry is also waking up to the green burial as a business offering. I can’t imagine why burying unpreserved bodies in biodegradable coffins and non-vaulted graves is a radical act, but it is. We did a fairly comprehensive blog post about it here: http://thetanglednest.com/2010/07/the-rebirth-of-death-natural-burial-and-a-make-your-own-casket-plan/ And there’s a fabulous PBS documentary about it called A Family Undertaking.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Maybe things are less restrictive out here in Australia. Ten years ago I built a coffin for my daughter without much trouble from the authorities. She died of a brain tumor out of the blue, aged eight, less that six months after we moved out here from Britain. My attitude to undertakers coincides with Faye Dunawaye’ in Bonny and Clyde. I didn’t want any strangers in what was my business, let alone asking me for a fee. There were a few hiccups however. I went to the diy place to get boards with my mate Dave, who’d shaved his head when she died. He’s teetotal so he drove, I was drunk all through those awful months.We must have looked a pair. MDF boards we wanted, after all they were going in the incinerator, I had the measurements. . I’m afraid we can’t cut them, the guy told me. Why not? It’s new OH&S regulations, he said. The dust is carcinogenic. Jeez, I said, how am I going to make her coffin? She’s only little, eight years old. Oh hell he said, I’ll cut them, and he did. We took them home and made the box in the garage. The other kids came and decorated it once it was done, painted pictures all over it and stuck on collages. I caught the younger one trying it out for size. Next morning Dave drove me down to the hospital where she’d died and we looked for the mortuary. They had it well hid. We had to go round twice before we found it. We took the box in and signed the papers. She was wrapped in plastic. Dave and I lifted her into it and I pulled the sheet apart to look at her face. What are you doing? the mortician was aghast as I took out the camera for a last portrait.

    We screwed the lid down and loaded her into the back of the wagon. There was trouble at the crematorium. I’d spoken to the manager beforehand, I wanted to see her into the flames and he’d said that was ok. After the ceremony Dave and I went down to the office to find the manager in a bad mood. They’ve gone on strike, he said, they don’t want you down there. Why not? There’s been trouble in the past. What sort of trouble? You know, relatives trying to follow the coffin in. Hell, that hadn’t even crossed my mind. But strike or no, he was as good as his word, and her came down himself with his secretary. They pushed my box in when the door opened, while Dave and I restrained ourselves behind the safety rope.

    I wanted to make a pyre in the back yard, but that was against the regulations.

    1. openfly says:

      While I think sending someone off, is very much a personal experience shared by those that knew the person. I can see why there are some of the rules and regulations that exist. Not all of them of course, but death can make people act in some pretty unsafe and often times irrational ways. There’s nothing wrong or unnatural about that, but it’s because of that that some seemingly bizarre or insane rules exist.

      That being said, the amount of effort put forth by you and the original subject of the piece is a testament to how much you cared about the person, and I don’t think there’s a person alive who wouldn’t have their heart ripped from the chest reading about it.

    2. Jason says:

      bk_2, this was heartrending. I can’t imagine your emotional fortitude. Condolences.

  13. Rose says:

    Dale, thanks so much for writing this up. The details are both unsettling *and* inspiring. I was so touched to read how Larry built the coffin so specifically for his father, and then how he navigated so much bureaucracy. What an amazing act of love.

  14. Todd says:

    Good on ya’, Larry!

  15. For me, this story instils hope for the human spirit and despair for the human condition. How have we come to such a place where a simple act of love between a son and his father can be so regulated and manipulated by others? Power to you “Larry”. I’m sure the act has brought closure for you and I hope the journey to get there fades into the footnotes.

  16. grima says:

    I can only quote The Big Lebowski -
    Walter: Look, just because we’re bereaved, that doesn’t make us saps!

  17. That is a beautiful act of love and a lovely piece of woodworking. I’m saddened the county people and the mortician couldn’t see that from the start.

  18. Mark Dolley says:

    My father died in Thailand. The hospital drained the body and left my brother and I to take it for their. Found a rental pickup truck, a coffin, some rope, shaved Dad’s face and dressed him, took him back to his house….

    Several days later, we found ourselves opening the lid to pour gasoline in, to make sure the open-air cremation would be effective. Seemed completely normal that we should be taking care of him to the end, not dumping him on someone else.

    Good for you Larry.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have been in the funeral industry for twenty years and I am deeply saddened by some of the the uniformed comments below.

    First, let me give people a reality check:

    Funeral Directors and Embalmers are underpaid ($29,985 – $45,765 a year national average), work long hours and on-call time and are exposed to blood and air borne pathogens, harsh and cancer causing chemicals and severe emotional toil from stress and the care of the bereaved. Yet, for the most part, are dedicated, caring and there to aid people. They are not rich, they “live” sad lives of stoic work and empathy.

    Now, those with the money are (for the most part, since sole proprietorship is a small percentage of funeral homes these days) the corporations. The corporations that are run by those that have been in the industry, but mainly those that have not. They set the prices, the budget and the wages. And although I do not agree with most of those set prices, I have looked and worked on those budgets on a sole proprietorship and corporate level. They are slim in profit and most of that comes from casket sales.

    Yes, the funeral industry is a business. You may not like it, but it is true. If someone stepped forward and made a funeral home community co-op, they would still have a budget and constraints. If we nationalized the industry and the government controlled it, they would still have a budget and constraints.

    Now, on to the article that make people call the funeral industry a “huge scam”. There are a few facts that made me want to clear things up:

    1. In California there is a document called an Application and Permit for Disposition of Human Remains and is controlled by the county where the death happened and is set forth by the state health and safety code. Now, I don’t know if Larry’s intent was to go straight to the cemetery for burial (he would need a signed and properly filed death certificate to get the proper permit) or just transfer his loved one to the funeral home. If the latter, the county was in the wrong and no permit was needed. This is an issue of the county and state laws not the funeral home.

    2. Hospitals have regulations and sometimes are very strict. And, yes, some old hospital lay outs are not situated for the respectful removal of a loved one. Yet again this is a hospital issue, not the funeral home.

    3. Some cemeteries require a vault or outer burial container. It is not required by California state law, yet the cemeteries have a right to require it. Such a vault is, as was mentioned in the comments, only to keep the earth from settling and possibly crushing the casket or coffin. Yet again this is a cemetery issue, not the funeral home.

    4. The funeral director was probably just giving Larry advice to the best of his knowledge of how things always have worked in the past, not trying to manipulate him. And all the other issues were never a requirement or rule from them, but as the middleman trying to help Larry in his quest. A middleman that is highly regulated with laws and rules and are in the situation to have to be the barer of those things to a bereaved family member.

    Now, with all that said, I honor Larry for caring for his father’s wishes and making a casket that is personal and meaningful. I think it is an act of love that he transfered his father so many miles. And that Larry is a free thinker and thought outside the system. Sometimes, especially as a grieving man, those actions, showing how much the loss hurts and how much we care, are deeply needed in the healing process. Amazing man and story on those counts.

    However, not everyone is like Larry and and need a caring professional to handle all those details and do that work. Those in the funeral industry have a thankless job. Most of us are treated like pariahs when we mention what we do. Perhaps, instead of calling us scam artists, talk to one of us and ask questions. Get to know that we are human too.

    1. Jeff says:

      Dude. don’t get all defensive. It makes you sound like exactly the kind of creeps that Larry was dealing with. A better response might have been, “Not everyone has the strength to do what Larry did, and our industry is here to give those the support they need. That said, people like Larry should have the right to seek a dignified end for their family members on their own without my help.”

      Or an even better response would have been a respectful silence while you thought a little about what this man’s experience could teach you about how your fellow human beings (i.e. customers) perceive the service you give them.

      The wounded and preaching tone of your post made me feel 100 times more sympathy and respect for Larry. And 100 times more likely to seek any option but the mortuary.

      -jeff

      1. Anonymous says:

        Jeff,

        Sorry you took my post that way.

        If you read my last two paragraphs you will note that my words praise Larry and his actions and are like you suggested I’d respond.

        I don’t get why I am a “creep” defending my career choice and yet scythenoire and the twenty others that “liked” his response that the industry is a “huge scam” are okay to give their opinion.

        I was trying to be informative and give the larger picture and if you read my words, you’ll see that I do respect Larry and how he did things.

      2. Kristina says:

        Creep? Where do you get creep out of this guy’s response? Obviously, you don’t know a lot of funeral directors otherwise you would not be responding this way.

        I want to echo Empusas on several of his points. First off, btw, my fiancé is a funeral director and has been in the business almost all of his working life, going on twenty-two years at this point. He has worked in the business from the ground-up, doing everything from the answering phones, filing death certificates, waking up at 3 am from a sound sleep to go out on a freezing night to take someone’s loved one into his care, working crazy amounts of overtime to get things done right, making coffee at receptions, dealing with family feuds that involve drugs, alcohol, and every kind of name-calling, nastiness and vitriol human beings can bring up, because you know, grief can turn even nice people into monsters. He works long hours and will bend over backwards to help families, but even then, there are rules and regulations, and you know what? If he breaks them, it might be his *job* on the line. Like Empusas said, there are a lot of rules and regulations, but very often they are not put into place by the funeral homes, but by the county, the state, the hospital and/or the cemetery. So often the funeral home is not to blame.

        What really pisses me off is that I have seen how hard my fiancé works, and his coworkers and others in the field. I’ve even helped out on occasion. I think people forget that people in the funeral industry are humans too. Their jobs are at times so similar to cops, firefighters, people in the medical field, but because of the stigma our society assigns to them, people look down on them, or sneer at them. Well, try walking in their shoes for once! Yes, there are crooked people in their field, but you know what? There are in *every* industry. I mean, hell, look at our own government, and tell me that we don’t have worse crooks elsewhere. The vast majority of funeral directors are caring, generous, kind people who often work long back-breaking (and I mean that quite literally!) hours, expose their health to hazards most lay people can’t imagine, and get paid very little for it.

        The American public thinks that they know funeral directors. You watch Six Feet Under, you see the lone freak story in the news about one guy who messed up one time, and then, you think you know everything. It’s very easy to judge outside of the funeral home, isn’t it? Yes, it’s a business, yes, these people have to get paid, and oh, the high prices, well, like so many other things, you people don’t see the truth. You wouldn’t go to a doctor or dentist and expect to pay peanuts, would you? You’re paying for people’s time, their specialized skills (how many of your friends know how to properly embalm a human body?), the labor and details that go into getting things done *that you do NOT see behind the scenes*, so that when you get there, everything is ready. When the family arrives, the room is set, the body is arranged, the flowers are waiting, the coffee is made, the paperwork is filed, the coach (most of you call it a “hearse”) is washed, the permit are in place, everything is ready. You didn’t see the long hours, the phone calls, the waiting, the exacting skills in setting a broken body (because really, not everyone dies peacefully), any of the behind the scenes work, because that’s the point. That’s the job of a funeral director.

        Maybe Empusas is being defensive. But he’s a right to be. So much of what he said is true. I’ll tell you another thing: people in the funeral industry lose loved ones too. My fiancé lost his father very unexpectedly a few years ago. When the rest of his family was falling apart, he was the strong one, and stepped in and made the arrangements himself. He worked with the funeral home in the area to take care of his father’s service and put his own grief aside to ensure that the rest of his family would be taken care of, especially his mother, and didn’t stop to grieve until those details were taken care of. When I lost my grandfather a year afterward, my fiancé offered his assistance to my family and did whatever he could to ensure a smooth service for my family. My family responded to this generosity and outpouring of love for a man he had not even met with open arms.

        Before you judge, get to know the people you’re judging. Otherwise, you’re just slinging stones needlessly.

        1. VRAndy says:

          Your post is an emotional rant that reads like it’s borderline hysterical.

          - You emphasize again and again that mortician is not a job that most people would enjoy. I doubt you’d find anyone here that would disagree with you. So? How does that help? A man with an unpleasant job can rip you off just as easily as a man with a pleasant job. Perhaps easier, as people are too squeamish to look into the details of an unpleasant job.
          - There is the occasional news story about weirdo morticians, but people correctly recognize those as the outliers they are. What people are unhappy with is a systemic problem that an entire industry has grown up around using arguably unethical practices to sell vulnerable people services they don’t need. To the point where some of the larger players have been able to lobby for laws that only benefit this industry.
          - You point out that none of my friends could properly embalm a body. I assume that’s true, but I’m not sure what complaint it’s answering. I’ve never in my life heard someone say that they wished they had embalmed a body at home to save money, but I’ve heard many people complain that they wish they hadn’t been pressured into having it embalmed at all.
          - Then finally you relate an anecdote about a man who provides excellent professional services for both his own family and his fiance’s family.

          I don’t doubt that being a mortician or a funeral home director is a crumby job. Especially at a corporate-owned outfit. If this article was about better pay for morticians, that’d be great. If they were unionizing and threatening to strike until they get better work conditions, well, I’d be behind that too.

          …BUT that does not make you immune from discussion and debate about whether or not your industry as a whole has become dependent unethical practices.

    2. VRAndy says:

      People’s normal complaint with the funeral industry is that it pressures people into buying services they don’t need and extravagant coffins, at a time when they are least able to make rational decisions.

      I don’t see that this is incompatible with working odd hours for little pay. Depending on supply and demand, it’s possible to take unfair advantage of people and still make little money. Especially if a portion of your profits have to go to shareholders instead of employees.

      It is not your customer’s responsibility to sustain your industry.

    3. Dan Carvajal says:

      They are not underpaid, if they were they would quite. That’s a good check for anyone being “underpaid” because if they were really worth paying more they would find a place that would pay them what they felt was fair.

      Of course everyone is always underpaid.

    4. ann marie nee says:

      I truly appreciate your informative response. I live in California and have tried to education myself on the options that I will have for my husband, children or myself if and when the need will arise. I have been thoroughly disappointed at how difficult it is to discover what my options are. It has led me to want to give up educating myself altogether.

      I am sure that you do not want any negative backlash for your honest response, but if you would be willing to submit any contact info for yourself or your funeral home, those of us that are seeking out knowledge would be greatly appreciative.

      Thank you kindly,
      Ann Marie

  20. Andrew Davis says:

    My father has built handmade coffins for years and this sort of thing is fairly typical. The funeral business is just that, a business, and they look to maximize and protect their profit at every turn. It is especially bad now that the industry is controlled by just a few large players. Your best bet is to plan ahead and make arrangements ahead of time with a funeral home or mortuary. You can see my fathers work at http://www.vintagecoffins.com.

  21. Anonymous says:

    A good friend of mine enlisted his crafty friends to help build both his mother’s and his father’s caskets after both died unexpectedly and a few years apart. It was awesome to be a part of the process and pay homage to his parents before they went into the ground. He is in Tucson, AZ and came across very few obstacles. The mortuary contact was most concerned that the handles and the casket itself would hold together. They did. Burying a person you love is a personal experience and he and his family were glad of the outcome of a difficult time. Peace.

  22. Andrew says:

    You Should not be suprised that the morgue was next to the cafeteria….they usually are, due the need for sharing the refrigeration lines.

  23. Jon Gale says:

    My dad and I built a pine casket for Leslie Norris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Norris) when he passed away. There is a flickr set showing the casket at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51472800@N00/sets/72157626455624655/

    The wooden “bolts” are made of mahogany and were hand turned on the lathe. The cross on top was carved by Brian Kershisnik (http://www.kershisnik.com/). It was a great project and I’d like to build something similar for my father.

  24. Dan Carvajal says:

    As government get’s too involved with the running of our lives, naturally it also will get involved with death. Politicians handed out protectionist polices to morgues because death is an industry that has very low growth rates so one of the few ways to make more money off of it was legal removal of competition like Larry. This was all done in the name of eliminating “bad eggs” in the funeral business, as consumer protection.

    I’m fairly certain my dream funeral of being burned on a pyre wearing a Darth Vader costume is also illegal

  25. I have great respect for this young man, and I’m sure it was deeply satisfying to provide a personal and  respectful farewell to his beloved father.  I’m not surprised by the bureaucracy, but I also understand the thinking behind it – so much of our life is “mass produced” that it’s startling to have someone say they want something singular and thoughtful, and have the perseverance to go through with it.  I’m glad Larry was able to complete his mission, and give his father the kind of send-off he desired and deserved.

  26. I have great respect for this young man, and I’m sure it was deeply satisfying to provide a personal and  respectful farewell to his beloved father.  I’m not surprised by the bureaucracy, but I also understand the thinking behind it – so much of our life is “mass produced” that it’s startling to have someone say they want something singular and thoughtful, and have the perseverance to go through with it.  I’m glad Larry was able to complete his mission, and give his father the kind of send-off he desired and deserved.

  27. I have great respect for this young man, and I’m sure it was deeply satisfying to provide a personal and  respectful farewell to his beloved father.  I’m not surprised by the bureaucracy, but I also understand the thinking behind it – so much of our life is “mass produced” that it’s startling to have someone say they want something singular and thoughtful, and have the perseverance to go through with it.  I’m glad Larry was able to complete his mission, and give his father the kind of send-off he desired and deserved.

  28. I have great respect for this young man, and I’m sure it was deeply satisfying to provide a personal and  respectful farewell to his beloved father.  I’m not surprised by the bureaucracy, but I also understand the thinking behind it – so much of our life is “mass produced” that it’s startling to have someone say they want something singular and thoughtful, and have the perseverance to go through with it.  I’m glad Larry was able to complete his mission, and give his father the kind of send-off he desired and deserved.

In the Maker Shed