We bid farewell today to one of the most unique Studebaker enthusiasts imaginable; Luther "Luke" Barnes of Elwood IN.

Obituary here:

http://obituaries.heraldbulletin.com...018-1060229866

Luther's sons asked that conventional casket transport from the funeral home to the gravesite be substituted with what Luther would surely have wanted; a final ride in (on?) Ted Harbit's Chicken Hawk hauler! So "Luther" was accommodated accordingly. (Click to enlarge.)

DSCN0084[1].jpg

The casket properly loaded, Chauffeur Ted Harbit (right) posed with Luther's two sons, David (left) and Dean (center):

DSCN0086[1].jpg

Ted heads out:

DSCN0088[1].jpg

At the cemetery, the procedure was reversed. Luther's long-time Studebaker friend and co-vendor Daryl Lahr of Warren IN (in the red coat) assists:

DSCN0091[1].jpg

Luther is transported to his final resting place next to his late wife Janice:
DSCN0093[1].jpg

Their headstone will need to be updated appropriately:

DSCN0096[1].jpg

Besides Ted's truck, two additional Studebaker-related vehicles were in the procession: Luther's 1972 Avanti II and yours truly's 1964 Daytona Wagonaire:

DSCN0094[1].jpg

Several people at the funeral had Luther stories to share, including his next-door neighbor of 30+ years, who regaled everyone with details of Luther's many eccentricities. Not all of them, mind you, or the funeral would still be underway ten hours later.

I had contributed two personal Luther stories in Ted Harbit's original post about Luther's passing, but had overlooked this one:

Fall 1967: I'm minding my own business about 8:30 one nondescript Thursday evening in my dorm room at Purdue University. Luther Barnes' home is about 62 miles away in Elwood IN.

Nonetheless, I hear an unexpected knock on my dorm room door...and it's Luther Barnes, of all people. I probably hadn't spoken to Luther in several months, so I had no idea what he'd be doing at Purdue 62 miles from home after dark on a Thursday night.

He beckoned me to come outside, saying he "had something to show me." (Luther always had "something to show you" if you knew him very well.)

So I follow him outside and out to the curb, whereupon he directs my attention to the deck lid of a 1953 Chevrolet Bel-Air 2-door sedan on which he and a friend had been working that day. On the deck lid was a Powerglide script indicating the car was equipped with Powerglide automatic transmission. So far, so good.

Then Luther reveals the BIG SECRET: He and his buddy had just converted the car to straight stick that day, but were leaving the Powerglide script on the deck lid to fool would-be street racers into thinking it had an automatic! Luther thought that was a darn slick trick and had driven 62 miles from home in the dark to reveal the nefarious deed in person!

(Yes, that's a true story; the only reason he made that 62-mile -124 miles round trip- over 2-lane central Indiana roads that Thursday evening was to illustrate their cleverness in leaving a Powerglide script on the deck lid of a now stick-shift car. If you knew Luther, you'd believe that story without question. If you didn't know him, that gives you a better idea of his, um, "uniqueness." )

RIP, Luther; they broke the mold when you were born, so they'll never be another one.

All the best to David, Dean, and their families. BP