Biker Buried Astride Beloved Harley in Plexiglas Casket
An Ohio motorcycle enthusiast’s family has carried out their father’s long-laid and elaborate funeral plans, that were 18 years in the making.
Billy Standley, 82, of Mechanicsburg, Ohio, was buried Friday, embalmed atop his 1967 Harley Davidson and encased in a giant plexiglass casket.
A couple of hundred people turned up at the funeral which was held outside so all of Standley’s biker friends could attend, two even arriving riding their own motorcyles.
Standley, who died of lung cancer on Sunday, began his own funeral arrangements 18 years ago when he approached David Vernon of Vernon Funeral Homes with his quirky idea.
“At that time I didn’t know to take him seriously or not,” said Vernon, who realized as conversations progressed over several years that this was something “very important” to Standley.
“He gave it a lot of thought,” Vernon said. “He was a unique man — a man who spoke his mind and did things whether people liked it or not.”
The lengths Standley took to arrange his own funeral involved buying three burial plots next to his wife Lorna’s grave, which provided a space large enough to accommodate the large custom made concrete vault that would eventually hold the casket.
As for the casket itself, Standley built the see-though box with his two sons out of plexiglass, reinforced with steel and wood rods.
“Me and my brother built the casket five years ago and it’s been sitting in his garage waiting for him to die,” Pete Standley told ABC News.
After Billy Standley’s death on Sunday, five embalmers helped prepare and secure Standley atop his bike, dressing him in his well-worn leathers, white helmet and glasses.
He was secured to the $30,000 bike with the metal armour he had fabricated to wrap around his waist, which was mounted to a bracket that went down between the seats.
Before his final ride, Standley’s beloved custom-painted 1967 Electra Glide cruiser had taken him all around the country. The retired truck driver and former rodeo rider had travelled every state except Hawaii in his younger years, with many of those trips made on his motorcycle.
While Standley’s family said the burial might be unusual and even shocking to those witnessing it, they wanted to grant the last wish of the man who had told them he didn’t just want to ride to heaven, but wanted the world to witness him do it in a see-through casket.
“This was his wish and we granted him his final wish,” said Pete Standley. “He rode his motorcycle to the grave and he’s still riding it today.”