Displayed in Houston
John Gunnell - April 10, 2014 09:04 AM
Classic two-tone green Sayers & Scouville hearse.John Gunnell
1921 Rock Falls carved-side hearse shows hearse industry’s craftsmanship.John Gunnell
The Popemobile is part of a special display on Papl funeralsJohn Gunnell
Service Corporation International, based in Houston, Texas, is the world’s largest owner and operator of funeral service locations. The company also operates Dignity University, where those interested in the funeral business can get required training. The National Museum of Funeral History (www.nmfh.org) is in the same building.
Vehicles ranging from an elegant horse-drawn 19th century funeral carriage to the actual hearses used in the state funeral services of U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford can be seen at the museum. For vintage car fans, there are Buicks, Cadillacs, Studebakers, Packards, a Model T Ford carved-side hearse, a LaSalle funeral limousine, an unrestored Rolls-Royce and a Mecedes-Benz used to bury Princess Grace of Monaco (actress Grace Kelly).
Additional highlights of the collection include a 1916 Packard funeral bus that was used in place of a funeral procession. It carried a coffin (sideways), pallbearers and up to 20 mourners. There is also a 1921 Rock Falls carved-side hearse that shows the craftsmanship of early motorized hearse manufacturers.
You can visit the exhibit's photo gallery online (www.nmfh.org) to view some very unique vehicles. There is also a current exhibit on Papal funerals that includes the first armored Popemobile built in 1982.