Putting the 'fun' back in funeral
Harley hearse offers one last ride for bikers

By KEVIN PASSON - GM Today Staff

August 30, 2003

 

OCONOMOWOC - One final ride. That’s what Dave Follmar and Jack Feather offer the avid biker who has died.

Tombstone Hearse Co. of Alum Bank, Pa., has six hearses, all fitted for normal and oversized caskets and pulled by a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The coaches can also be equipped to safely transport urns for cremation ceremonies.

“My partner (Follmar) was going on a trip to the Southwest about 10 years and saw some of the photos of Ike and Billy Clanton from the OK Corral,” Feather said. “He thought, ‘What if I use a bike instead of horses?’”


Jack Feather, seated, talks with Bill Kreutzmann, left, and Phil Dobberfuhl of Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral Home about the Tombstone Hearse Co. The company offers avid riders or anyone wanting a unique funeral service one last ride 'on' a Harley.


Feather was a manager of a development firm for 12 years before quitting to form the business with Follmar.

In the past 18 months, the company has grown from one hearse to five, with another three under construction. The hearse Feather brought to Oconomowoc for Harley’s 100th anniversary celebration is pulled by a Road King - with a stock engine.

“It’s got plenty of power,” he said. “We did re-gear it though, and we added reverse.”

And now, the special Harley funeral service will be offered through an Oconomowoc funeral home as well.

“We’re going to offer the service,” said Bill Kreutzmann of Schmidt & Bartelt Notbohm-Kreutzmann Funeral Home, shortly after seeing the bike and coach pull into the parking lot. “We’ve had Harley-Davidsons right next to the casket inside the building, so this makes sense for them.”

The driver of the hearse doesn’t look like your typical hearse driver either.

Uniforms for those working at Tombstone Hearse feature a white tuxedo shirt, string tie, black pants, vest and shined cavalry style knee-high boots with a single spur.

“We feel the uniform exudes nostalgic style and a sense of dignity and professionalism,” Feather said.

The hearse was transported from Pennsylvania to Oconomowoc in a trailer.

But, once outside the walls of the truck, it’s been turning heads all over the area.

Kevin Passon can be reached at kpasson@conleynet.com


This story appeared in the Waukesha Freeman on Aug. 30, 2003.