Former clown Norman Thompson, a Shriner and member of the Antioch Shrine Funster Clown Unit for 15 years, died Monday, May 25th at age 79.
The clown unit specializes in eliciting smiles from and comforting children who are burn victims or have orthopedic problems.
Eight of Thompson’s fellow clowns in their full costumes acted as pallbearers at Thompson’s funeral.
“Oh, he’s definitely smiling right now,” said Gloria Thompson, Thompson’s daughter, at Friday’s service.
“He definitely would have gotten a kick out of all this,” agreed Gloria Thompson’s sister, Melody King.
The tribute is only done at clowns’ funerals at the request of the deceased and their families, Lile explained.
Though there were tears, Thompson was laid to rest as he had lived: with more cheer than despair. And with honor.
“It’s kind of bittersweet, yes it is,” Lile said. “It’s remembering what he’s done and if he can’t clown anymore, this is the way he’d want to go out.”
I have to admit, when I first saw the photos I imagined a bunch of clowns pouring out of the casket or performing stunts and throwing pies at the funeral. Yeah, I know, you thought the same thing too.
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