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Luther Barnes' Funeral

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  • Luther Barnes' Funeral

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

    Obituary here:

    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.)

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

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    Ted heads out:

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    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:

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    Luther is transported to his final resting place next to his late wife Janice:
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    Their headstone will need to be updated appropriately:

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    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:

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    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
    We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

    Ayn Rand:
    "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

    G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

  • #2
    Thank you Bob for posting this. The Studebaker World now has a big hole in it.
    R.I.P. Dear Friend.
    J & J Sinclair
    I was STUDEBAKER, when STUDEBAKER wasn't "KOOL".