“It’s the people who aren’t comfortable with their life that can’t talk about their death.”

Charles Cowling


I had an email this morning from Chuck Lakin. The name rang a faint and distant bell. I unleashed Google, who soon ran him to ground.

Chuck makes coffins. Beautiful, simple coffins. Here’s a story about one of them:

Last September, Barbara Baker learned that breast cancer had spread to her bones and she had six months to live. Lakin had already made a coffin for Baker’s cat. The choice to have her own made came naturally. He delivered it a week before Christmas, when Baker had a friend, Carla, staying over.

“Carla comes home at 4:30, and my mom says, ‘Chuck’s coming and he’s bringing my casket today,’” Fenlason said. Carla pulled her aside and warned her: “I think there’s something wrong with your mother’s mind.”

Fenlason said her mom was touched that someone would make something so beautiful for her. After she died on Jan. 18, Fenlason and her husband, Glenn, assembled the coffin themselves at the funeral home. Family signed the inside of the plain pine lid. Guests were encouraged to sign on top. They wrote things like, “You’ll always be the queen of green fried tomatoes.”

“It was another healing thing for us,” Fenlason said. “Morbid didn’t even come into the picture at all. I hope 1,000 other people want to do this.”

Instructions for Chuck’s make-it-yourself quick coffin here.

More about Chuck here

And here

Chuck’s other wood designs here

Title quote: Chuck.

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[…] like Chuck Lakin at the GFG. We’ve blogged about him here and here. Here’s his reply to the question ‘When did you begin learning about […]


[…] written about Chuck Lakin here before. He’s a retired librarian and active woodworker with a line in plain pine coffins. Above all, […]