Cardington man designs special 'last tribute' for motorcycle enthusiasts
By LeAnne Gompf -
Jay Axthelm of Cardington approached Funeral Director Gene Gompf of Gompf Funeral Service about building a hearse that would give motorcycle enthusiast “One Last Ride”.
Wanting to provide a service to the families of fellow riders Jay, a Harley enthusiast and rider himself, spent time with Gregory and Gene Gompf gaining information on dimensions and weights for an average casket size in his effort to construct a motorcycle hearse.
“It was a labor of love,” Axthelm said, grinning ear to ear under his full beard. The hearse was hand-built by Mr. Axthelm and reflects the style of the sixty year old Knucklehead replica he custom made, designed and still rides.
Axthelm has over 300 hours and $4000 invested in his handmade hearse, topped with leather fringe. The casket is securely held in place for a reverent ride to their final resting place. Jay has built several trailers for his bike through the years, but his pride and joy is the hearse that offers biker’s one last ride. In spite of his prosthetic leg and multiple sclerosis, 49-year-old Jay has a positive outlook on life. Having recently retired to fully enjoy life, he loves to ride with the wind in his face, making sure loved ones have an affordable and sensational sendoff.
The first official use of the Motorcycle hearse by the Funeral Home was last Saturday morning. The weather for a December morning could not have been more perfect for a winter morning ride in Ohio. Temperatures in the high fifties, sun shining and gentle breezes served as the backdrop for a final country drive to Alum Creek Friends Cemetery for Robert “Bob” Lewis Adams, Sr. . His daughter, Joy Van Voorhis rode in the sidecare, while his son, Robert and his wife Amie Adams, Jr. followed close behind on their own bike.
The motorcycle hearse, which has been in service just a few months is just one of the many one –a –kind services offered by Gompf Funeral Service. The funeral home also owns two horse-drawn hearses.
According to owner, Gene Gompf of Gompf Funeral Service, “People are getting away from ‘traditional’ funeral services. We strive to offer unique ways to memorialize our families’ loved ones. For the biking enthusiast like Mr. Adams, this was a perfect way to honor his life with “one last ride”.