LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- When it comes to the Natural State, we sure love to fish and hunt.
Sometimes even more than life itself.
Yet, the one thing many of us don’t enjoy is talking about one of our loved ones dying.
“It’s a difficult conversation that sometimes needs to be had,” says Joel Schmidt, creator of Glory Boats.
Planning for a loved one’s funeral can be a difficult time and as Schmidt soon realized can be even more awkward if you have to have a conversation about death before the person has even passed.
His father John at the time was 74 and suffered a fall from a ladder while on the job.
“As I saw him laying there it didn’t look too good for dad,” says Schmidt.
Schmidt says he was glad his father pulled through. A true Arkansan and outdoorsman in every way, he says he didn’t know what he would have done since he hadn’t had the conversation with him and says he joked with his dad, “If you hadn’t told me what you wanted, I might have just buried you in your fishing boat.”
Schmidt says he figured he would have found a picture online of a boat-like casket since these days he feels you can find anything online but soon discovered that wasn’t the case.
“I didn’t tell my wife until after I made my first prototype,” Schmidt laughs.
Glory Boat’s mission is to encourage everyone to plan for the departure of their loved ones from this life and to see death as a celebration of one’s life.
“You wouldn’t believe the phone calls we get with people in tears thanking us,” explains Schmidt. “It’s a great feeling.”
Glory Boats makes caskets that look just like boats and the one-of-a-kind products are made only here in Arkansas.
“People walk up to a Glory Boat and they look at the person lying in that boat and they say ‘oh my gosh a fishing boat,'” says Schmidt. “You remember the fishing trips we took here and there and the hunting trips and all of a sudden it becomes a highlight reel of the deceased’s life.”
As for Schmidt’s dad, John, well he is doing okay.
However, he has already told Schmidt he plans to use one of his son’s glory boats for his final ride to the other side.