War Veteran Wins Battle To Have Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum Coffin
To be fair, it's not that bizarre when you get into his story - it's quite sweet, actually.
You see, the fantastically named Suttie Economy has become famous in his native Virginia for handing out sticks of the colourful gum to basically anyone he meets.
The 94-year-old has been suffering from health problems over the past few years, and was being looked after at a hospital in Salem before moving to the Virginia Veterans Care Center nearby recently after rallying slightly.
He served in the US Navy in the Pacific during the Second World War, which is where he developed a love of Juicy Fruit.
Juicy Fruit is made by Wrigley's, and during the war they took themselves off the civilian market in order to dedicate their entire output to those fighting for their country.
That's when Suttie Economy became hooked.
Hey, there are worse vices to have, right?
His brother, John Economy, explained: "It served as a symbol for his mission to talk to people about the World War II memorial and to honour the deceased veterans that died for our freedom,"
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The upshot of this was that Suttie asked his long-time friend, Sammy Oakey, who owns a funeral directors and crematory, to design a casket for him that looks like a large pack of Juicy Fruit.
Oakey explained: "For decades, Suttie has been known as the guy who takes packs of Juicy Fruit to restaurants, doctors' offices, funeral homes, firehouses, etcetera, and gives them out to everyone he sees,
"He has probably purchased tens of thousands of packs of the gum over the years."
He continued: "Suttie would come in here for visitation or just come in to visit and he would always bring a bunch of packs of Juicy Fruit chewing gum and put it out for the employees to enjoy,
"He didn't just do that here. He did it at restaurants and doctor's offices wherever he went."
Mars Wrigley initially rejected the request to use their trademark, but after a huge community response, they decided to make an exception in Suttie's case.
A company spokesperson said: "We appreciate the role our products have played in creating better moments and more smiles for this individual and the Roanoke community.
"So, when Suttie dies - which his pal hopes 'will be a long time off' yet - he'll have a casket or pall designed to reflect the gum that gave him, and others, so much joy."
Featured Image Credit: Wrigleys/Shutterstock
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