Family, friends mourn in unique way
by Rory Doyle
Sep 10, 2012 | 3588 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Friends and family of recently deceased John Randall Lemoine painted his casket on Friday. Services for the 24-year-old Merigold native were held at Ray Funeral home Saturday. From left, Jeremiah Matthews, Aubrey Gilmer, Matthew McLung, Hannah Lemoine, Trey Tierce and Joshua Fraiz.
Friends and family of recently deceased John Randall Lemoine painted his casket on Friday. Services for the 24-year-old Merigold native were held at Ray Funeral home Saturday. From left, Jeremiah Matthews, Aubrey Gilmer, Matthew McLung, Hannah Lemoine, Trey Tierce and Joshua Fraiz.
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Coping with the loss of a family member is an experience no one envies.

But the tragic Sept. 1 passing of John Randall Lemoine, 24, of Merigold has lead to a grieving experience not typical to most. His services on Saturday at Ray Funeral Home in Cleveland were held with a little twist.

Lemoine's mother, Hannah, and a few of his friends decided painting his casket would be reflective of the way John would have wanted his funeral. They spent a couple days last week decorating the casket with designs and symbols referencing John's interests.

"What we're tying to do is exactly what John would have wanted," said Hannah Friday afternoon. "John was always doing crazy things.

"This is really a wonderful and amazing tribute and a great way to make a positive out of something so tragic."

Along with the painted designs, those attending Lemoine's funeral were able to sign messages and names on the lower half of his casket using permanent markers.

"It will be the most unique funeral Cleveland has ever seen," said John's older sister Laura. "It will capture the essence of John's life.

"It wont be a typical sad ceremony because there will be laughter and quite honestly, maybe even some awkward moments. It will be exactly what John would have asked for if he had the chance. I love my baby brother and I will miss him terribly."

John's mother said the experience has been calming.

"This has been the best therapy for grief," Hannah said. "When I'm here with his friends I feel good and I'm laughing — it really helps."

Friend Jeremiah Matthews said the alternative funeral is a fitting tribute.

"John wasn't a normal guy — he wouldn't have liked a blank coffin."

While it's still a time for grieving, Hannah said yesterday's services were extremely helpful in the healing process.

"This funeral is different because it's not about mourning, but rather a celebration of life. Wherever John is I know he's laughing."

John graduated from Cleveland High School in 2006. He went on to Delta State University where he obtained a bachelor's in science in 2011.

In August 2012, he graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton with a master's in medical biology.

John loved spending time with his friends and playing video games. He was also a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.