Coffin designed to cheer people up

SHARE

Alex King is hoping a little humour will go a long way at his funeral to ease the pain for his loved ones.

The Gore man has designed and built a coffin that should bring a chuckle to the lips of those paying their last respects.

Mr King said he once read an article in a magazine about how humour could help people deal with death.

“I’m not knocking the sadness of death [but] if you can bring some humour into it, it makes it easier on the family.”

His attempt to make his death a less serious occasion already had family members making jokes.

“My daughter is ringing up and saying ‘am I speaking to live Alex or dead Alex?’

“I said you’re speaking to live Alex who is working for dead Alex.”

He had lived a good life and was ready to die when it was his time.

“I’m coming [up] 88 and I’ve had my time. I’ve had my ups, I’ve had my downs.”

Mr King had grown up in East Gore, trained as a cabinet-maker and married Lorna, the love of his life, in 1957.

Mrs King died in 2008.

After a lifetime of building projects it made sense that he would make his own coffin.

“I’ve built lighthouses, I’ve built houses, I’ve built halls, I’ve built boats.

“I’m still designing homes so it was on the cards.”

He used rough sawn macrocarpa he had stored in a shed, but was not trying to save money.

“I’m trying to say this is what I want.”

The coffin he had made was designed to fit his body when it was in the foetal position.

It was decorated with memorabilia including a book about his life, Mickey and Minnie mouse dolls from a trip to Disneyland, a toenail from his big toe, stories, tools, photographs and a mini-bar.

“I don’t want them crying .

“Think of me kindly, if you want to, and have a drink and have a laugh.”

The book, made from wood, was called This was your life dead Alex established 1931 and contained stories of his life and included the strap which had been used on him as a child.

The project had kept him busy for “many, many man hours”.

He said the staff at the Southern Funeral Home and the Invercargill crematorium had been helpful telling him what size the coffin needed to be.

For his funeral, the coffin will be taken on the back of a trailer pulled by a World War 2 jeep. The coffin will eventually be returned to a family member’s home where it will be used to store photograph albums.