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'Place a loved-one’s urn in the iconic symbol of those times: a VW Bus'

The van has been restored and decorated, inspired by the 1960s (left). The interior is sealed off from light to protect the remains of up to 100 people. (Submitted photos)

EUGENE, Ore. - Fare thee well: This just might be the ideal resting place for Grateful Dead fans after a long, strange trip.

Because death has no mercy - and this new resting place for urns sure beats a brokedown palace for your cremated remains.

“Many of our friends and neighbors came of age in the 1960s,” said Mark Musgrove, whose family owns Musgrove’s Mortuaries and Cemeteries, businesses that have served Lane County since 1883. “We thought what better way to honor how a generation lived and thought than to provide an option to place a loved-one’s urn in the iconic symbol of those times, a VW Bus retrofitted as a columbarium.”

Musgrove bought a 1972 VW bus. The iconic vehicle had been buried in a farmer’s field in southwestern Washington.

The van's windows were broken. The rearview mirrors were missing. The lights were cracked or missing. The interior was destroyed. The body was rusting.

Not anymore.

“It has taken more than a year and countless hours of work to retrofit the VW Bus for its new purpose as a columbarium,” said Cody Rushing, the Musgrove mechanic who did the body work on the VW bus. “There was no engine to be concerned about, so I focused on repairing the interior and the body, including replacing all the windows, mirrors, lights, door handles, electrical system, seats, molding, and other parts of the bus that had rotted or were missing.”

A local tatto artist designed the exterior. Sign Pro wrapped the bus with the design.

Solar energy will be used to power the LED headlights and running lights "to honor a generation who raised the world’s social consciousness about the environment," Musgrove's said in a press release.

"The new columbarium has the capacity to honor and permanently memorialize over 100 people that families have chosen to cremate," Musgrove's said in a press release.

Personalization of burials is a growing trend, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

"As baby boomers age and find themselves having to plan funerals for loved ones and themselves, they are making funeral choices based on values that are different than previous generations," the association said. "Baby boomers see funerals as a valuable part of the grieving process and are seeking ways to make them meaningful."

“We believe every person’s life is special and each of us have our own unique personality,” Musgrove said. “The VW Bus columbarium in our Peace Garden is an opportunity for those who treasure the idea of Peace and Love, from all generations, to honor those family members and friends in a profound way that represents who they were and how they lived.”

The Peace Garden and the VW Bus columbarium is located in Musgrove’s Lane Memorial Gardens, 5300 W 11th Ave, Eugene, Oregon. A grand unveiling for the eyes of the world is planned for Wednesday, May 17, at 1 p.m.

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