Former GM worker gets classic car send-off at funeral

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This beauty from the 1950s was one of the vehicles brought by strangers to the funeral of a classic car lover. | Screenshot
This beauty from the 1950s was one of the vehicles brought by strangers to the funeral of a classic car lover. | Screenshot

A Wisconsin funeral home gave a former General Motors employee with no surviving family a grand final send-off thanks to the classic car community.

Roger Clements died last week after a battle with cancer at the age of 82. His caretaker, Renee Artreche, was worried that his funeral would be empty.

“She said she wanted to do something special for him,” Neal Schneider, owner of Schneider Funeral Home in Janesville, told WISC-TV. “I said, ‘Absolutely, what do you need?’ And she said, ‘Do you know anyone with an old car?’”

Schneider, a car guy himself, loved the idea of honoring Clements in such a way. Clements worked at GM for 40 years and loved cars.

Schneider posted about the idea on Facebook and his phone started ringing nonstop with people who wanted to help. Despite the frigid December temperatures, a host of classic cars was assembled to give Clements his final goodbye.

“Car people are really tight,” Brian Reece, who brought his 1950s Cadillac, told the news outlet. “They come together when there’s need for special things. They know what it’s like to build something out of nothing.”

Reece said it was likely he and Clements had crossed paths at some point given their shared love of automobiles.

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“I believe cars have a spirit of their own,” Reece said. “If I can share that spirit with anybody, and he’s above watching us, I think he’s enjoying the time.”

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

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