Honoring Grandpa, Earth: Casket maker has passion for nature

NATHAN MABIE | For the State Journal

 Honoring Grandpa on a cold winter day with a toe-pincher coffin inspired by the movies of the Old West.

Honoring Grandpa on a cold winter day with a toe-pincher coffin inspired by the movies of the Old West.

BEAVER DAM — Jonas Zahn’s grandfather died during the winter of 2004, just before the holidays.

So on a cold December day, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings all convened in his grandparents’ farmhouse near Mayville to discuss how to proceed. The exchange between family members was difficult.

“Everyone was circled around the living room,” Zahn recalls, “and no could agree on what should be done with Grandpa.”

But Zahn had an idea after family members couldn’t agree between a burial or cremation, something his grandfather viewed as the only alternative to a large, expensive funeral.

“Grandpa was a big (John) Wayne and (Clint) Eastwood fan. He wanted to be a cowboy. I remembered the coffin from (the movie) ‘Unforgiven,’ the toe pincher,” Zahn, 38, said. “I offered to build one for Grandpa.”

Read the complete article in the Wisconsin State Journal