A final farewell for a local man whose dying wish was to experience the thrill of motorcycles one last time. Last week a terminally ill South Bend man, Jon Stanley, was granted that wish when hundreds of motorcyclists revved their engines outside his house. He died later that day from lung cancer.
This weekend, those same bikers took him on his final ride, to his funeral. “Jon was a biker. He loved motorcycles. The biker community is a big huge family, we all take care of each other, we all support each other,” said his friend Thomas Baker.
Taking care of each other, even after the ride of life is over, friends, family, and strangers gathered to say goodbye to Jon Stanley. “It means a lot. For these guys to show up to pay respect and tribute to somebody that was a vet and a biker it means a lot to me,” said Stanley’s brother-in-law Michael Smith.
“His dying wish was just to hear a bunch of bikes and I told Jon ‘you know what I’m going to do my best, I’m going to get some bikes to you, you hold on,’ and that’s what he did.” More than 150 riders showed up that day, never dreaming it would only be a matter of hours until Jon would take his final breath. At his funeral the crowd of bikers was just as big and just as supportive.
“These gentleman, from beginning to end they started this and as you can see these gentlemen are staying with this all the way to the last ride all the way to the cemetery,” said Smith. And now others are there for Jon, to give him one final ride to his final resting place. They say it’s exactly the goodbye he would’ve wanted.
Those bikers escorted Stanley to his final resting place at South Bend’s Riverview Cemetery.