Harley-Davidson enthusiasts Johnny Klumpkens took his last ride in appropriate style in January of 2013. Family, friends and coowrkers celebrated Klumpkens’ life with a funeral procession through the streets of Grand Bend led by a customized Harley-Davidson drawn hearse.
The hearse is owned by Boot Hill Hearse Company of Brantford and is the only one of its kind in Canada. Hank Bouwer, Boot Hill’s owner, brought the Pennsylvania-built hearse about a year and half ago and it’s already been used in funerals from Windsor to Ottawa. Brent Bonney, Brouwer’s son says the Harley hearse is a unique way of celebrating a person’s life rather than simply mourning his or her loss.
From The Forest Standard, Thursday, January 24, 2013
Brouwer attended a funeral in Windsor several years ago where one of the 49 Harley Hearse currently operating in the U.S was being used was so impressed by the spirit of the attendees he decided to starts his own company and bring the service to Canada. Although his father won’t tell him the exact cost of the hearse, Bonney estimates it’s worth about $100,00.
Prior to Klumpkens’ funeral procession, Bonney and the hearse’s driver, Jason Raymond, had plenty of stories to tell about the unique circumstances they’ve encountered. One older woman who had always wanted to ride a Harley but never had the chance, took her “last ride” in the hearse and fulfilled a dream that had been on her “bucket list.”
According to Raymond, the Harley hearse is modeled after an 18th century horse-drawn hearse, albeit with a 95 horsepower 2011 Harley-Davidson Road King pulling it.
Klumpkens, who lived just outside of Port Franks, passed away January 11th at age 52. The father of three and grandfather of one was a member of Northville Fire Department and will also be remembered for his many ears of loyal service with his landscaping business and working for the Lambton-Kent District School Board. He was the beloved partner in life of Veronica (Hansch) Brennand also leaves behind his mother, brother and sister.
His service was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Grand Bend with arrangements through Gilpin Funeral Chapel of Fores.
Along with the Harley hearse, eight other bikes joined in Klumpkens’ procession, turning many heads as it traveled into Grand Bend, down the beach, then back along Highway 21 South. Klumpkens final trip certainly lived up to Boot Hill’ motto, “Shake the ground one more time.”