By Lee Jones
MECHANICSBURG – Billie Standley, 82, was a larger-than-life man who spent years planning his signature burial, which went off without a hitch Friday.
He was buried while sitting on his motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide.
Standley, who died of Stage 4 lung cancer, was a passionate motorcyclist who belonged to the American Thunder motorcycle club.
Along with the bike, Standley's body was surrounded by medals and trophies he won in his years of rodeo riding and biking.
He had arranged for a vandal-proof plot, according to the family. A concrete vault already had been placed in the burial site and the box would be lowered into the vault, the vault lid locked and then covered with soil.
On Friday, the bereaved gathered around a green framed box with Plexiglas sides housing the dearly departed, who was dressed in a full leather getup and a helmet emblazoned with his name. Many of them were happy to see his wish granted.
“He always wanted to be buried this way,” his son Pete Standley said. “This is what he got. We built the casket six years ago.”
Standley's long-time friend Robert Paul said he bought an antique car with Standley in December and was shocked he died so quickly.
“He was a good guy,” Paul said. “I used to go up and talk to him all the time.”
Funeral director Dave Vernon said Standley approached him about his burial wishes 18 years ago.
“I told him I'd do my best,” he said. “This was definitely an important part of his life.”
Lee Jones may be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 223 or on Twitter @UDCJones