By Darcy Meade – A local funeral home is now offering a unique option for families to take their loved ones to their final resting place, a motorcycle hearse.
Simpson Family Funeral Homes of Sheridan and Stanton have a new hearse that is unlike any other. They recently brought home their Tombstone trike and hearse.
The funeral home started talks with Tombstone Hearse and Trike late last year about making them one of their unique hearses, but the owner of Simpson Family Funeral home Bill Simpson Jr., wanted it to be different from the ones they have done. Simpson said it is the only one like it in the world because it has a flat satin finish with hand painted stripes.
It has all the bells and whistles of a traditional hearse, the wheels have purple lights and both the trike and hearse have flashers. Simpson is also working on a carrier that could be placed inside the hearse to transport urns in the case of cremation.
“I’m all about celebrating life and I try to tell families I don’t ever want to do a funeral because someone has died, I want to do it because someone has lived, so let’s celebrate that life. We personalize so many other aspects of the funeral why not personalize the procession,” Simpson said.
Tombstone Hearse and Trike is the company that builds these one-of-a-kind machines. The bikes are built from the ground up and have a Harley engine inside them. Owner Jack Feather says he likes to say he came up with the idea for the motorcycle hearse by an alcohol-related incident. He was in Daytona for bike week in 2001, sitting across from a funeral home that had a horse-drawn hearse sitting out front. He said some guys on trikes pulled up and parked near it. They debuted three hearse and trikes the following year at bike week.
“We started the whole motorcycle hearse thing back in ’02, there are a few copy cats out there, but we have been accepted by the funeral home business as the standard,” Feather said.
Feather has several people who work for him on the hearse including Hot Rods by Mike who does the paintwork, his upholstery genius, and a glass etcher. They started out in Pennsylvania but have since moved to Tombstone, Arizona. Some of the hearse and trikes have been shipped to England, the Dominican Republic and to Canada.
This service is not available just at Simpson Family Funeral Home, but the funeral home will provide it around the county and state.
“If you live in Montcalm County and you want to use it, the funeral has to be handled through my funeral home. We will go to you and there is no rental fee to use it as long as my funeral home handles the service,” Simpson said.