After attending services for two friends who died in a motorcycle accident, an idea struck Mickey Yoose. The thought launched a unique service of sorts.
Mickey and his wife, Elly Yoose, of Lancaster, were close to David and Joan Edge, both 59, of rural Potosi, who died on Aug. 28, 2013. The Yooses, like the Edges, are avid motorcyclists. The Edges were taken from their funeral to a local cemetery in motorcycle hearses -- one obtained from Davenport, Iowa, and another from more than 400 miles away.
"They were very expensive," said Mickey, recalling a conversation with Tiffany Kramer, of Martin Schwartz Funeral Home in Lancaster. "I told Tiffany I thought that we should have one of these in our area, one that was local and affordable. She thought it was a good idea."
Mickey approached Vern Vesperman, a friend, who works at Larry's Welding in Lancaster, with his idea.
"At first he was hesitant, but once he got going he was very glad he did it," Mickey said. "He was the key person."
Mickey explained that Vesperman researched the project online before deciding on a final design. Mickey paid for the work that was all done locally.
Steve Bryhan, of Lancaster, had planned to apply the black metal flake paint to the hearse at his job at Lancaster Auto Body. Diagnosed with cancer in April, Bryhan, 54, died on Sept. 14, unable to complete the project. His brother Jim, who operates Bryhan's Body & Paint Specialists, finished the job. Ironically, Steve was taken to his final resting place in the hearse.
According to Mickey, motorcycle hearses aren't unusual; they are common in areas in the South and East, as well as in Arizona. He and Elly, who operated Yoder's Rockville Bar at the time, brought this service to the tri-state area. Pulled by a Tri Glide Ultra Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the 750-pound hearse is equipped with four lanterns on each corner, Plexiglas windows and four flag holders. It has a weather-proof roof.
"It's like a regular hearse, only it's on a trailer and pulled by a motorcycle," Mickey said, adding that "anything" can pull it, including a farm tractor or an ATV. The transportation mode can fit the wishes of the deceased.
"It's a very nice way to pay the tribute to your loved one's last wishes if they choose to partake," Elly said.
For whoever wants a last ride that's a little different than a hearse, this is it," Mickey said.
The Yooses also have a 24-foot enclosed trailer to transport the motorcycle and hearse "anywhere," he added.
"There are families who are getting away from the strict and traditional for more unique personalization," she said.
"This is a great service to add to the community."
January of 2019, our world was once again rocked by the passing of the owner/creator, Mickey Yoose. As a family, Ethan, Lucas, and myself carry on serving those who wish to make the ground rumble once last time. Our hearse can not only serve the motorcycle enthusiast but be pulled by a truck, tractor, ATV/UTV…..just about anything with a motor and hitch. -Elly Yoose