Funeral home organizes classic car send-off for man with no immediate family

Funeral home organizes classic car send-off for man with no immediate family

A Janesville funeral home held a special celebration for a man who passed away with no immediate family by organizing a classic car send off.

Roger Clements died from cancer last week at the age of 82.

With very few connections left in the area, Clements’ caretaker, Renee Artreche, worried his funeral would be like many of the other funerals for those she looked after — empty.

Working on a very special story today centered around life, love, and classic cars. It’s something you’ll see tonight only on #News3 at 6. @WISCTV_News3

— Adam Duxter (@News3Adam) December 5, 2018

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

Clements, a former General Motors employee who spent over 40 years with the company, loved classic cars, according to Artreche.

“That’s what he talked about the most,” she said.

Being a fan of cars himself, Schneider says he was instantly drawn to the idea. He posted about it on Facebook and the plan was in motion.

“All of the sudden, my phone wouldn’t stop,” he said.

Despite the cold weather and most classic cars being put away for the season, the classics made their way out for Clements on Wednesday, with complete strangers bringing their cars to honor a man they did not know.

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

Reece said even though he didn’t know Clements, it’s likely the two car lovers had crossed paths over the years.

“I believe cars have a spirit of their own,” he 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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