VENICE – A southwest Florida funeral home is offering an unusual assortment of antique vehicles in place of a hearse for a farewell ride to the cemetery.
The Farley Funeral Home in Venice has a World War II-era Dodge military truck with large white stars on its doors and a World War II-era Jeep. David Farley says his funeral home is the only one in Florida known to offer veterans a military-themed funeral procession.
He tells the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (http://bit.ly/16YqqXt) that up to 60 families in the last three years have chosen the “Veteran Farewell Ride” for their loved ones.
Kevin Lynch chose that ride for the funeral of his father Walter last year. Walter Lynch fought in the Army during World War II, and his son said he would have appreciated the unusual funeral procession.
“It was quite a sight, particularly with the flag-draped casket in the open,” Lynch said. “As we drove from the funeral home on the island, people on the sidewalk were quite shocked. One man took off his hat and saluted, another put his hand to his heart.”
The funeral home also has a 1937 Ford hearse that Farley envisions being followed by a procession of antique cars for an auto aficionado.
There’s also an Eimco Power Horse farm tractor that uses reins instead of a steering wheel. It was one of 300 made between 1937 and 1942.
Farley envisions the tractor leading a funeral procession for a farmer.
“It’s the only one I know of east of the Mississippi that’s still running,” Farley said. “We have not used it for a funeral yet. Maybe someday.”