“Before being cremated, he wanted to go for one last ride.”
John DeHoop loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles: He rode one, had a tattoo of one and outfitted the family room of his White Bear Lake home with Harley memorabilia.
Before he died of cancer at age 55 in May, DeHoop told his wife, Kathy, he wanted a motorcycle hearse at his funeral. During their rides along the St. Croix River, the couple had seen a Harley hearse parked outside Afton Leather, a motorcycle-apparel shop in Afton’s Old Village.
“He wanted that hearse,” Kathy said. “Before being cremated, he wanted to go for one last ride.”
About 75 motorcycle riders followed Jim Kaempfer, owner of the Ride In Peace Motorcycle Hearse Co., after DeHoop’s funeral May 28 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. Kaempfer rode his three-wheeled Harley motorcycle around White Bear Lake, pulling the matching custom-designed caisson containing DeHoop’s casket.
A personalized etching — applied to the back of the hearse — read “Celebrating the Life of John E. DeHoop” and featured a drawing of a bald eagle. “He loved eagles,” Kathy DeHoop said. “He just thought they were beautiful creatures.”
Kaempfer makes a copy of the etching for the families. Kathy DeHoop said she plans to have it framed and display it in the couple’s “Harley” room.