Have you ever loved something so much that you’d never let it go, even if you died? Well that was the case for Billy Standley and the object of his affection; a custom painted 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide cruiser.
It had been a long time goal of Standley’s to be buried astride his beloved motorcycle. For years the Mechanicsburg, Ohio native would repeatedly state to anyone that would listen that he wanted the whole world to see him ride to heaven on his motorcycle, all through a see through Plexiglas casket. Why? Simple really, the bike provided a reminder to Standley of the adventurous times of his life before he settled down to raise his kids.
The casket itself proved to be quite a challenge–a see through casket big enough for a man on a motorcycle isn’t exactly a regular commodity. Undaunted, Standley’s sons, Pete and Roy set about building a custom casket made from Plexiglass which they then reinforced with wood and steel rods to handle the weight. Standley himself went to nearby Fairview Cemetery and bought three plots next to his wife Lorna. The three plots provided him with enough room to accommodate the size of the bike and casket. So when Standley passed away on January 26th due to lung cancer, his family went about carrying through with his plan.
They gathered a team of five embalmers to prepare Standley’s body for burial. The embalmers positioned him atop his beloved bike and secured his body to the bike with straps. They also added a metal back brace to ensure he would never lose his seat– even as they towed him through town to the cemetery where he would be buried. Making sure his leathers and trophies adorned the unique construction provided the finishing touches.
Most people might think that such a funeral procession as something quite bizarre but to Standley’s family members, they were fulfilling a promise. “He’d done right by us all these years, and at least we could see he goes out the way he wanted to,” said his son, Pete.
So Billy Standley got his wish. He got to meet his maker while riding his Harley. I couldn’t think of a better way to do it myself.