Conflict Of Interest: 1965 Buick Hearse or Ambulance

We are spoiled by the professional and prompt response we receive when someone dials 9-1-1. Fire services usually arrive first to gain control of the situation. Soon thereafter, an ambulance with two well educated paramedics arrives to stabilize the patient and race them to the hospital in what is basically an emergency room on wheels. However, things used to be very different. In many locales, the local funeral home also provided ambulance service. Yes, I am serious. Evidently this unsettling conflict of interest wasn’t considered to be a problem back then. Often, the vehicle you were taken to the hospital in was the same one used by the funeral home for those who weren’t so fortunate. Creepily waiting for a new caretaker here on craigslist, this 1965 Buick hearse/ambulance combination is just the thing for a Halloween yard ornament or as a tangible reminder of the bad old days.  Found in Medaryville, Illinois by our beloved friend Pat L, this creepy corpse carrier can be yours for a mere $5900 bones.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how letting the funeral home handle people headed to the hospital was considered a good idea.  Didn’t anyone think that they would drive slower if the victim was in rough shape?  Was the speed of the ambulance determined by how close the patient was to death?  If you had a stiff in the back, did you just leave the coffin on the curb until the accident run was made?  I’ll likely spend all night thinking about these scenarios, and you will too.  You’re welcome.

The first five pictures you see are of the vehicle when it was still in use.  It seems that it was retired from funeral service in 1994, and was repainted a dark blue around 2002.  While it doesn’t currently run, it hasn’t been driven on salty roads to the owner’s knowledge.  Under the hood rests a siren, on the roof is the original gumball light, and it is even equipped with air conditioning.  I am sure that was an appreciated feature for all but the most dead.

Inside, it is hard to imagine there was room to do any first aid.  You can see that there was a seat for the attendant, and that there was no seat belt provided.  A sliding glass window and a narrow set of doors to what I guess were supplies separates the driver from the mayhem in the back.  I believe the vented area near the floor would handle the air conditioning and heat, either freezing or burning off the feet of the attendant.  Given the stinginess evident in the whole plan, I am sure the attendant job was filled with the cheapest warm body that they could find.  I wonder where they stashed the bottle of whiskey?

The driver’s compartment looks to be much more comfortable than the accommodations in the rear.  At least the guy in front had a seat belt.  Given that this meat wagon was powered by a pretty good sized Buick Wildcat engine, I would imagine that fate demanded that at least one of the poorly paid employees was a teenager.  All teenagers have lead feet, so I will leave you to your thoughts on this part of the story.

This is what the conveyance of corpses looks like presently.  As you can see, it is still in great shape, and those red headlights in the place of the high beams look awesome.  The new, darker blue color looks nice as well, and I would imagine that professional vehicle collectors will be slobbering all over it.  I don’t think I could fully enjoy driving a vehicle that was certain to have provided so many people their last ride, but to each their own.  These relics are part of automotive history too, even if they exist to tell a gruesome part of our history.  I’d better stop there.  The Opel mafia, the MG mafia, and the Yugo Lovers Chapter of the United Brotherhood of Kneecap Breakers are already after me for speaking ill of their rides as a whole.  I really don’t want these professional vehicle guys on my case.  Their vehicles have already carted around enough bodies.

So, what to do with this leviathan?  All jokes aside, it does look to be a nice example of a professional vehicle.  To say it would get attention at a car show would be an understatement.  If you could find a way to tell car show visitors how they were used without re-telling the story a thousand times, it would blow people’s minds.  It is hard to fathom how rough things were just a handful of decades in the past.  People must have been really tough back in the day.  Maybe ridiculously cheap as well.  At least having the funeral home handling accidents made you drive a lot more carefully.  That is, if you were sober.

 

WANT ADS

WANTED 1994/95 Dodge Dakota 4X4 Looking for a nice ’94/’95 Dakota 4WD in nice shape.Want a V8. Contact

WANTED 1959/1960 Pontiac ANY parts car Contact

WANTED 1995 Cadillac Cadillac Eldorado Concertible Classic White Red White Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. Wade Anderson

    The Funeral Home at home had 3 63 and 64Cadillacs they always had backup when the local Hospital took over the Ambulance service they got 2of the Cadillacs used them up until 1969 when they were replaced with new Chevrolet Suburbans

  2. Doug

    You could always use it for car camping on a long trip. Imagine the money you could save on hotels. It already has curtains for privacy. Throw in an air mattress and some supplies, good to go.

    • Steve in Charlotte

      Cool car but for Camping? Waaaay too creepy for me. I couldn’t sleep knowing how many unfortunate folks suffered and died in this car…or who were already dead. No Thanks.

      Like 1
  3. memikeyounot

    One of my favorite TV series of the last decade was Six Feet Under, about the family in LA who runs a mortuary/funeral home. The first 15 minutes of the first episode show the father of the family having gone to buy a new hearse. He’s driving, talking to one of the family on the phone, runs a light and gets hit by a city bus. He’s killed of course and the hearse is demolished. He, of course, shows up frequently to the family to tell them things. And the daughter, high school age, drives an old hearse, painted lime green, throughout the series. Not sure I’d want to own one but they are well used in this series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StceREZcEIs

    • john

      A fine show !! Great, deep music as well. Last decade? Doesn’t seem that long ago…

      • Brad

        2001-2006 the series ran for 5 years- I think it is one of the best shows ever!! If you haven’t seen it, watch it!

        Like 1
  4. DKH

    Not sure why this seems so creepy. Two jobs, one car, use what’s not being used, seems to make a lot of sense.

    Like 1
  5. Pat A

    Up until the advent of paramedic services, the ambulance attendants could only offer the most basic of first aid service. In 1966, you were far more likely to survive wounds suffered in combat in Vietnam, than you were from wounds in a bad car accident that happened in the United States.

    Like 1
  6. Bingb

    At least back home..the home had a Caddy hearse and a Plymouth
    ambulance.

  7. Brian M Member

    I’m not sure of the end date but the undertaker in my home town of Salem, NH provided the ambulance service until the fire department took it over around 1960(?) He had a red Cadillac ambo around a 49 or 50 model complete with molded-in lights on the front and rear roof. He responded to all accidents, quite possibly with his wife who was a nurse. The nearest hospital was across the border in Mass. There were three doctors’ offices within a hundred yards of the funeral home so the less seriously injured may have been taken there. He had a separate black Caddy hearse for the other customers. I wish I had gotten to know him better as he was taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge and kept as a POW, locked in an unheated boxcar for over a month and got badly frostbitten. Like almost all of the Greatest Generation, he never talked about his service.

    Like 1
  8. Denny Engle

    As with most other funeral homes in the area the one I worked for in high school the ambulance and the hearse were 2 separate cars.I always wanted to find a Caddy flower car.

    Like 1
  9. STEVE

    Ambulances back in the day were merely a way to get you to the hospital. The attendants were usually not trained in much, maybe basic first aid. It wasn’t much, but better than nothing. From what I have been told, when federal funding came along, local volunteer fire departments started getting money for training and vehicles, replacing privately owned ambulances.

    Like 1
  10. Mike B

    This one looks like it could easily pass as an unrealized wagon version after removing the obvious emergency vehicle items. Find the appropriate rear bench and it seems ideal for the family road trip w/ the cabin divider to screen out the “are we there yet”s.

    Like 1
    • Rodent

      A friend of mine had an 86 (?) Cadillac hearse for a while and just sold it in the last year. After it left “single passenger service”, a rear seat was added and it was used in SoCal to give tours of famous murder scenes and graves of the Hollywood stars. Friend drove it as a daily for a while to his job at a…….. funeral home.

      Like 1
    • Miguel

      I don’t think Buick had a full size wagon in 1965.

      • Skip

        In 1964 Buick with the Sport Wagon, their version of the Olds VistaCruisers, Miguel. I saw two ’65 Models here in Texas, both owned by funeral homes that were their first out ambulances. Both were similarly equipped with Federal VisiBars on top, when they had begun to enjoy a bit of popularity. PCS member Jim Vowell from Michigan currently owns a nice ’64 VistaCruiser ambulance.

  11. Larry K

    Grocery getter, you bett!

    Like 1
  12. Brian Gould

    These were always popular with bar bands to carry them and their gear from gig to gig. In fact Neil Young even wrote a song about his beloved 1962 hearse – Long May You Run.

    Like 1
    • Jack C. Ware

      I have always loved the hearse / ambulances ..While stationed in So. Carolina way back when ,, I had the pleasure of a 64′ Caddy hearse .. it was painted metallic green by its previous carpenter owner .My friends and I would cruise all over with this and once in a while I could even coerce a close friend or two to enjoy the open space in the rear,, good girls of course ,,, drive in was fun as well . Had to part company with the beast back then .. but years later now back home in Maine got a trade deal on a pretty sweet 47′ Cadillac combination rig ,, had been converted to late model Caddy power.. but used to wonder how the drivers of this bohemoth managed to respond at the time in Chelsea Mass. what with a flat eight , three on the tree , no power steering and 17″ rubber ,,, you certainly didn’t want to get caught in front of this if it were rolling to a needed personal assist ,,Sadly after a few years of that affair itt too was traded off, and now my daily is a 63′ Cadillac Park Avenue , a rarity in itself ,, but I always keep an eye and ear open for any hearse needing a home ,,Cars have been a great friend to me and providing that last somber ride to anyone has made my thoughts on the hearse a service beyond normal comprehension,, it never does wrong , or intends to offend .. Its a hearse ,, and to me they all are cool ,, Thanks for listening ,, anyone see a cheap hearse for sale ? Lol ,, Always looking . Peace .. bless our military and veterans …Jack ..

  13. Brian Gould

    Oops. Correction. Neil’s hearse was a 1948 Roadmasher. (Buick Roadmaster)
    I don’t know where 1962 came from except it is a year mentioned in the lyrics.

  14. Phil

    I love this so much I am having heart palps I need an ambulance quick or I will need a hearse

  15. mankosan

    Back home in the day, having a hearse/ambulance combo might have been pretty convenient. If a sick or injured passenger expired on the way to the hospital, the driver could just head for the mortuary.

  16. Miguel

    I would love to have this car.

    It was built on a Wildcat chassis and it would go great with my 1965 Wildcat convertible.

    This is a very rare car and the first I have seen.

    Too bad it is so far away from the border.

    • mark willis

      My first car.. 65 wildcat 4 door custom.. Every option same color… Amazing… Miss that car… Father gave to me at 18… Would love a 65 wildcat convertible.. Lucky man…

  17. stigshift

    The first time I got to ride in an ambulance was after a friend’s cousin drove his ’78 Pinto into a tree at a hairpin curve with about 50% more speed than a ’78 Pinto with 5 drunken teenagers was capable of. I remember being severely disappointed that I got the Chevy truck ambulance, and the driver, aptly named Melvin, scored the ’73 Cadillac ambo. Probably the only Cadillac that Melvin ever rode in, though. But still…

  18. Sam

    Watch the “Signal 30” Ohio State Police accident film…GLA and luck to survive.

  19. Andre

    This thing is sweet and IMO the price is right. I’d DD this in a heartbeat

  20. Tyler

    This one has been on the market for quite a while, maybe a few years. Don’t know why it hasn’t sold, seems like it’s in good shape and a decent price. And it’s cool to see something other than a Caddy. Personally, I really love the late 40s-early 50s Packard-Henney coaches!

  21. Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey Sam, I remember seeing “Signal 30” back in driver’s Ed class in high school. “Wheels of Tragedy” was another one. Hard to imagine that no parent complained about movies that showed actual dead crash victims being pulled off the median, or out from under cars that had rolled over on to them, or through the windshield they’d gone halfway through. Different times.

  22. Ben T. Spanner

    In college I had a roommate who was draft exempt, and went to school 6 months and worked as a railroad brakeman 6 months. He left a very nice 1953 Cadillac combinatuion hearse with me. he even left a gas card and asked me to exercise it.

    I was not aware that it still had a siren and red flashing lights in the grill. One dark and rainy night I was behind a police car and noticed my brights were on. I tried to dim them, but hit the floor mounted button for the light and siren.

    The cop pulled over and began to escort me. I went down a freeway 1 exit and drove down the exit ramp. I had figured out the siren/light problem, and turned them off. The cop pulled up beside me and I told him I had just recieved a radio call canceling the ambulance call. The cop saluted and drove off.

    I took my first on many dates in the hearse. We are still married.

    • Steve in Charlotte

      GREAT story Ben!

  23. Will
  24. Skip

    I grew up in the days when the funeral homes ran the ambulance service; and no one ever considered it a conflict of interest. It’s just that that’s the way is was for nearly 3/4 of a century. And for many years, no one else was interested in providing ambulance service, so the funeral homes got stuck with it. When the new rules came out in 1966 considering who got paid what so far as personnel were concerned, the funeral homes started bailing in large numbers. The main reason was that providing ambulance services was never a money-making proposition for them; and a good deal of the ambulance calls were never even billed….just done as a p.r. tool, knowing that some day that particular funeral home would end up with a funeral service from that family.

    While in some parts of the country, notably in California and also in some of the Northeastern state, private ambulance companies were active from the get-go, that just wasn’t the case in most parts of the country. Where I am in West Texas, the first private ambulance companies appeared in 1965, with Baker Ambulance in Odessa (for whom I worked from ’65-’68) and A-1 Ambulance in Midland.

    Now “back in the day” even with private services beginning to emerge, patient care was something that was still relatively unheard of. It was a matter of “load and go”, hoping you’d get the patient to the ER alive, and with little, if any, other harm caused by the swift trip to the hospital. The eye-opener for me was in working for Baker. They had come from northern Montana, where actual patient care had begun top surface. I still remember a call I went on with Baker’s primary owner (now deceased) Jim Cawley. We had gone on a medical call for an elderly gentleman, and the entryway to the house was such that we couldn’t get the cot inside; so Jim told me to get the backboard and we would bring him out that way. My first question was, “What’s a backboard?” Something like that was totally unheard of back then. Now all of that was back in the mid to late ’60s. It wasn’t until 1973 here in Texas, that we got the first substantial ambulance training known as Emergency Care Attendant (ECA). It was followed by the first EMT classes in 1974 and a year or so after that with the first paramedic classes. To keep the longer story shorter, you wouldn’t believe the crap we caught in the early days when we’d roll into a particular ER with a patient fully and properly “packaged”……backboard, splints, etc., or actually performing CPR en route to the ER. It took a while for ER doctors and nurses to accept all that; but now they wouldn’t do it any other way. Except for one ER doc. I had the extreme pleasure of working under during my paramedic training. Dr.Dave Spear was Medical Director for most of West Texas and part of the Big Bend area. He pioneered the use of sonograms onboard Odessa Fire Dept. ambulances: a practice later discontinued by a new medical director when Spear left Odessa. For some time, OFD was the sole EMS provider who used sonography onboard its EMS units; but Dr. Spear was invited to take his training to different parts of the country; and at one point he and some of “his” Odessa paramedics even went overseas. What a far cry from the load-and-go days.

    As to the Buick combination shown here, I don’t see a conflict in interests. When it was new, funeral homes were still large ambulance providers; and especially in small communities, one vehicle did both jobs. No conflict. And as to this ’65 Buick: I got to drive it one time when in Indiana. And it drove nicely.

  25. Maestro1 Member

    There is, as you probably know, an active Professional Car aspect to the Hobby,
    and I’m sure if one of those folks sees it he/she will jump on it. I would convert it to a station wagon configuration, being a professional musician, and it would certainly haul the gear and personnel with little trouble. Just eyeballing the project to get it right feels like about $5000.00 if I get lucky with it. If not, then the number will increase arithmetically, but then the position would be, who cares; I
    would be in it for the long haul and have it carry me away when it’s time.

    • Brian Gould

      Long May You Run.

  26. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    When I was in high school, a friend of mine drove a (late ‘40s?) Packard hearse. His dad owned the local lumber yard and he used it to make deliveries for dad.

    Don’t know if there’s a direct correlation, but he went on to be the local county coroner…

  27. Chebby

    Neat whip. Hubcaps are from a 1971 – 73 LeSabre.

  28. DonC

    Years ago, we took a hearse and made into a Browns mobile for tailgating. Painted it appropriately and decked it out with curtains, shag, and the siren worked. A true fan favorite. Then took a coffin and painted it too. Open the coffin and the body place was covered with plywood painted like a football field so it was a table. Under the plywood were slots to hold the liquor bottles. The lid had fishnetting to hold various bar widgets, etc. When Butch Davis was getting fired at Browns HQ, we drove the hearse over and hung out. Made the local news! LOL! Now if only the team itself weren’t a cadaver.

    Like 1
    • Roger

      Back in the early eighties I knew a guy who took a mid sixties Cadillac hearse and painted it in Ohio State colors,this was around the time of Ghostbusters,this was named Big Ten Busters,silver with a big O painted on the doors.

      Like 1
  29. Jim Benjaminson

    Going back even further, it was the job of the police to haul injured/deceased persons to the hospital. Many departments had these “safety” vehicles. Plymouth offered an ambulance/hearse combination that looked like a normal passenger car. Some had no X-brace between the trunk and passenger compartment so a gurney could be loaded head first through the trunk. Other conversions had a removable right center door post – take it out to open a large area in which to insert the gurney, put the post back in place and be on your way. The rear seat was split and the cushion was strapped in place to the interior roof of the car, with the attendant sitting on the remaining cushion. In later years “high top” ambulances used “standard” passenger car bodies. First one I drove was a Miller conversion 1968 Oldsmobile 98. These conversions went by the wayside when the Feds began dictating dual-wheel truck box ambulance bodies.

    • Andre

      Wow that’s really interesting re: the passenger car conversions. Cool.

  30. Mr.B

    Many of the funeral homes in rural areas could not afford a Cadillac hearse or justify the expense of having the Cadillac hearse due to low number of calls each year, therefore other makes were used.

    Generally, my family used Pontiac or Oldsmobile, as removal cars, that went to hospitals and other locations for removal of bodies.

    Hearses in Miller or the Superior S&S configuration, decades ago, due to high roof, big engine, generally became ambulances because of the size and no need for any other use, so ambulance companies found some really good buys for their purposes.

    • Pat A

      Hearse builders tried to address cost issues by using the Calais line from Cadillac, which deleted A/C, and used manual windows, etc.

      • Miguel

        That was not why.

        Funeral directors didn’t want anything on the car that was not necessary or that would break down.

        The commercial chassis were not Calais or DeVille, they were just commercial chassis.

  31. Joel S

    I always wanted a cool old hearse back in the day, with a “coffin” speaker box in back, a fake arm hanging out….. thought it would be SO cool to pull into a parking lot full of kids hanging out, open up the back, and crank the jams!

  32. George

    About the speed. In our town a funeral home had a 55 Desoto. I can remember seeing it on a run out of town and when he came back he was going as fast as I had ever seen a car go. He actually bottomed out after crossing some railroad tracks. We rode our bikes out to see the accident which was a 30’s or 40’s motorcycle near a tree and the tree had blood on it. He died but it wasn’t from a slow ambulance. Also there were “combo” hearses that could be used for different uses for small town funeral homes. There is an excellent boo on Henney Manufacturing that ‘splains all of this.

  33. Pat A

    An interesting aside (maybe) is that funeral homes often grew out of furniture stores and cabinet shops as an extension of selling and making coffins.

  34. Skip

    George mentioned speed of ambulances, and we had our share that were fast runners. One was a 1965 Olds VistaCruiser wagon that had been professionally converted into an ambulance, where the rear seat was removed, leaving the small jump seat on the right in place. A platform was built for the cot to roll in on, and that left an enormous space for storage under neath; and with its 455 it was a fast runner.

    But our fastest running ambulance was a 1971 Olds ambulance: the short-wheel-based “Seville” built by Cotner/Bevington. It also had a 455 engine. While 99% of what we did was working standby service for sporting events,we did manage to get called on other matters.

    In Dec. of 1978 a school bus from the small town of McCauley, TX was travelling west towards Post, TX, on Hwy 180, enroute to a basketball tournament in Levalland, TX, 30 mi. west of Lubbock. Travelling north on a Farm-to-Market road was an oilfield service truck. As the truck approached the Hwy 180 intersection, the driver was met by large flashing red lights and large stop signs. All of that he ignored, continuing into the intersection, striking the McCauley school bus broadside, which catapulted the bus several yards into a nearby farmer’s field. Onboard the bus were members of the high school basketball team, cheerleaders and faculty sponsors and coaches. In the accident there were seven fatalities and 24 more injuries. Ambulances from all over the area responded, with the ER in Snyder, TX being the closest facilities. While some of the kids were treated in Snyder, several had to be transferred to Lubbock. The accident occurred during the noon hour, but I only found out when I returned to my apartment about 4 pm. to find the phone ringing. It was one of my crewmen asking if I had been to Snyder. Telling him that this was the first I heard he filled me in on the rest that I describe above. Then my phone beeped in my ear to indicate another incoming call. It was the ER in Snyder wanting to know if we could get down there with an ambulance, as there were still kids in the ER needing to be transferred to Lubbock. I said we’d be on our way; put my crewman, Dale, back on the line and told him to get ready to roll as we were going to Snyder. So I got into my winter uniform jumpsuit and out the door I headed. First I made a quick trip to a nearby gas station to ensure a full tank. I had already notified law enforcement of the Snyder trip; so it was Code 3 across town in five-o’clock traffic to pick up Dale, and two of our guys who were also Dale’s neighbors.

    Once we were enroute and made it to Loop 289 for a quick trip around to the exit to Hwy. 84 that would take us to Snyder, we got slowed down a bit going around the small town of Slaton as the bypass was still under construction. Then we had to make it through Post, but to my surprise, there was a police escort waiting. Once through Post I kicked up the speed to 85 and kept it there. About 12 mi. out of Snyder we came up on a DPS trooper working radar. He blinked his overheads at us and I blinked back, and suddenly we were in Snyder. I suddenly realized that we had made that run of right at 100 mi. in only 45 minutes, which was puzzling as I never exceeded 85 on the speedometer. Once in the hospital we picked up a 17 yr. old boy who had both arms and legs fractured in the accident. Once on the gurney we were out the door and got the boy loaded. A Snyder police officer approached to let us know that they would escort us out of town to the highway, which was nice. But just as I was headed for the driver’s seat a DPS trooper walked up and curtly, but politely, asked me what I had under the hood of the Olds ambulance. I replied that it was a 455 and asked why he had asked. So he asked if I remembered passing his radar and I said yes. He said,”Do you know what you were doing?” I said that I had set the cruise on 85 and we had never exceeded that speed. He chuckled and said, “You weren’t doing 85: I clocked you at 120 when you passed me.” I was shocked! He wasn’t concerned about the speed because he knew where we were headed: he just wanted a close look at such a “fast beast”, as he put it. The next day it was off to the local speedometer shop. We had recently put new tires on the ambulance,and the guy at the shop indicated that the new tires had caused the problem. He correctly adjusted the speedometer, and there was never another problem. We kept that Olds in service for about 3 years and there were some other quick runs in it. It was a dependable ol’ bus and I still miss that one to this day.

    • Miguel

      I remember the last 1976 ambulances the Snyder Ambulance Company had in California had the dial between the front seats that registered the highest speed the car did on any individual run. I can’t remember the name of that dial at the moment.

      I assume your car didn’t have that…

  35. Skip

    You’re right, Miguel, our Olds didn’t have anything like that, as they were not required here in Texas. Speaking of Snyder, Lou Farah who is head of Professional Cars International has Snyder’s 1968 short Buick Ambulance that was built by National. He has done a total restoration on the car and it is absolutely cherry now. It will be featured in their Code 3 Run as part of their Fall Meet, I think, next weekend. If you do Facebook, look for the page under Professional Cars International. If you scroll down the main page for enough you’ll find a nice video of the Buick all lit up.

  36. Pat A

    Several years ago, there was a sad story about a 17 year old autistic youth. He was a big fan of vintage ambulances. He owned one, and was running it in the family garage and succumbed to CO poisoning. I’m not sure how his death was ruled, but his family didn’t believe him to be suicidal, and they thought he just didn’t think to open the garage door.

  37. Skip

    Pat: You are speaking about John Ryan Keel who was a cherished member of the Professional Car Society and Professional Cars International. While he was a very special young man, he was not autistic; and he was 18 when he died on Christmas Day of 2002. Professional Cars International has an award named for him in his memory that is presented yearly.

    I had the honor of meeting him and his dear mom, Ann, at PCI (then the SoCal Chapter of PCS) at the Go West Meet in Los Angeles in 2001. We became good friends; and until his tragic death he had become my “adopted” son. I agree with you…..he was not suicidal and it was simply a tragic accident. His mom and his grandparents all said that there were signs in the garage that indicated that he had tried to escape when he realized that something was terribly wrong, but it was too late and he was overcome.

    Thanks for remembering him. +John Ryan Keel, RIP.

    • Pat A

      I’m glad that his memory is being kept alive. I only mention the autism because I think the article I read mentioned the possibility. The article mentioned that he had the intense interest in a topic that’s typical of autistic people, and that focus might have resulted in his demise. My 16 year old nephew is on the autistic spectrum, is very high functioning, and loves everything about Star Wars. (I like to ask him questions about Star Trek, which annoys him, but he’s good natured about it). I know that when a tragedy occurs on a holiday, its that much more painful. I hope his friends and family are able to cope with the loss and are well.

  38. Skip

    Thanks for your nice reply, Pat. You’re right about John’s intense interest in hearses, etc; but that was because he functioned on a genius or near-genius level. His mom, Ann, related the story that one time when he was still pre-teen that he was in the hallway with Ann when she opened a linen closet that showed a baby blanket at the top. John remarked to her that that was the blanket that she and her mom had looked at one time when he was “still in her tummy”. To have still been a developing baby and to have been consciously aware of what was being said…AND to remember it that much later is so remarkable. But so was John! Thanks.

  39. Skip

    In reference to a comment I made above, I made a very serious but unintended error. Lou Farah’s sweet little ’68 Buick ambulance is a Trinity Triune ambulance. I can’t believe I said “National”. Trinity was a short-lived subsidiary of Summers Coach in Duncanville, TX from whom a lot of our ambulances came over the years. I was right about one thing: Lou’s Triune was part of Snyder Ambulance’s fleet, and having been totally restored recently. It will appear early next month when PCI hosts its Fall spectacular, which includes a fantastic Code 3 Run! I say “fantastic” because it is! I got to drive Lou’s 1969 Stoner Suburban ambulance in their Code 3 Run in 2002! Sorry about the error, Lou!

  40. samuel lundy

    Mr. Bennett’s comments are very hurtful and juvenile. Funeral directors served their communities well and faithfully. I was among those that left our families during horrible winter storms to render whatever aid we could, never knowing when we might return. Kindly wait until you are an adult before making additional posts, about a era you obviously know nothing about.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.