- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

ESSEXVILLE, Mich. (AP) - A deceased man who had a passion for cars has been taken to his grave in a restored, classic pickup truck in Essexville.

More than 100 people attended Gene Thompson’s funeral on Thursday, MLive (https://bit.ly/2dGEXkh ) reported. The 81-year-old, who worked at General Motors in Bay City for more than 30 years, died Saturday after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease and kidney failure.

Thompson’s friend, Richard Spencer, drove Thompson’s coffin to the cemetery on a 1947 white Ford pickup truck. The gate on the bed was kept open, and the coffin was harnessed into the back.

“He never got a chance to finish up his truck and I know that he really wanted to,” Spencer said. “I know he’s looking down on us and happy that he got one more ride.”

Thompson and Spencer had been working together to rebuild a 1951 Ford pickup truck. Spencer said he plans to finish the project in the coming year.

A restored 1950 Plymouth Super Deluxe was also included in the procession.

Thompson drove a similar gray Plymouth when he was a teenager and when he met his wife, Barbara Thompson.

She said the first time she saw her future husband, she told her friend that she would marry him some day.

“He was a charmer,” Barbara Thompson said. “I prayed every day that my daughters would be as lucky as me to get a husband like him.”

On Sunday Oct. 23, the Thompsons would have celebrated 62 years of marriage.

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Information from: The Bay City Times, https://www.mlive.com/bay-city


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