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Casket Does Double Duty As Household Pantry
Whenever Junior Stailey grabs a can of coffee or jar of pickles, he’s making use of his future casket. At 45, the Indiana high school math teacher doesn’t think he’ll have to convert his pantry to its final use for many years. And that’s the whole point of it.

    “I’d rather spend $1,000 for something I can use for 30 years than more money later for something used only for a day,” Stailey explains.

    He was inspired to build the convertible piece of furniture by his work as a Sunday School teacher for people in their 80’s, where death is a familiar topic.

    “I have enough assurance from my faith, that it’s not morbid to have my future casket in my home,” he says.

    In 2011, he drew up a design and hired his neighbor, a cabinet builder, to make the pantry. Made of birch plywood, trimmed in cherry with solid oak handles hidden in the back, it makes an attractive pantry that Stailey keeps in his heated garage. Remove the shelves, attach the lid and slide out the handles for pallbearers to carry, and it converts easily to a casket. For the final makeover, an inexpensive liner can be purchased from the funeral home.

    “Federal law dictates that funeral homes must accept homemade caskets, unless the craftsmanship is poor and allows the body to fall out,” Stailey notes. He had the pantry built 28 1/2 in. wide by 21 3/4 in. deep and 78 1/2 in. tall so that it fits inside a concrete vault, required in most cemeteries. He also pre-drilled holes for the lid, which is mounted on the back of the pantry.

    “I like things with multi uses,” he adds. “And it’s one less thing that my family has to worry about.”

    Stailey says he will build and sell his pantry/casket to others for $1,500, plus shipping. So far, he hasn’t had any takers, but he would love to hear from anyone interested. His YouTube video (First Ever Casket For Life/Pantry) shows how it is built. Email: juniorstailey@gmail.com

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #2