Usually, personalized services start with simple requests.
Maybe the family wants a certain song played. Maybe they want a favorite beverage served at the wake. For most of us, personalization is about the little things; but there are some exceptions.
Let’s take a look at funerals and ceremonies that challenge the norm. These are services that take personalization to the next level and remind us that everyone’s life is truly unique.
1. James Doohan, AKA Scotty from Star Trek
The actor, best known for exploring space in the original Star Trek series, received a fitting sendoff. In 2012, seven years after the actor’s death, Doohan’s ashes were launched into space on a SpaceX rocket. Another trip — this time into deep space — is planned for some time in 2016. The trip will include the rest of Doohan’s ashes, as well as Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and several others.
2. Norman Thompson
Norman Thompson passed away in 2009, and his family and friends decided to give him a sendoff that reflected his life’s passions. Norm “Bopp” Thompson was honored by his fellow clowns in the Antioch Shrine Funster Clown Unit. The ceremony involved the clowns — in full attire — paying their last respects to their fallen comrade.
3. Miriam Burbank
Miriam Burbank received a funeral service true to her New Orleans roots. At the wake, Burbank was embalmed to appear sitting up with a beer and cigarette in hand. The family wanted to recreate a party scene they knew Miriam would have loved. The ceremony also included her favorite R&B music, complete with spinning disco balls.
4. Wolfgang Lieschke and Herbert Loebel
Two unlikely friends received a burial by parachute at the Center of the World in Felicity, California. What makes their friendship so unlikely? Lieschke was a member of the Hitler Youth as a child, and Loebel was a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp. Two skydivers parachuted down to the Center of the World monument carrying the ashes of Lieschke and Loebel with them.
5. Zeng Jia
Just like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, the 22-year-old Chinese student wanted to attend her own funeral. So she paid for the whole thing and attended — spending an hour in her own casket. She also hired cosmetic artists to apply makeup to make her look less lifelike. When asked what she thought of it, Jia said, “Experiencing death made me appreciate life more keenly.”
6. Christopher Rivera Amaro
When the 23-year-old tragically lost his life, his family wanted a special service to remember him. They chose to honor Amaro through his boxing career. At his wake, Amaro’s body could be viewed standing in a boxing ring, in boxing gloves and all.
Thompson’s funeral was as big a spectacle as the man himself. After his death, friends and family came together to remember the author and inventor of gonzo-style journalism. Thompson’s ashes were shot out of a 153-foot gonzo shaped fist, along with red, white and blue fireworks. The wonderfully weird funeral — fireworks display and all — can be watched here.
Have you ever been to a really unique funeral service? What stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!