Ryan creates Iron Hearse Company

Bill Ryan of Peabody sits at the back of his hearse, the services of which he’s offering through his business Iron Horse Company. Wendy Nugent

The interior and curtains are red velvet, harkening back to the olden days of hearses or something you might see in a New Orleans cemetery. The hearse also has windows almost all the way around, and it’s pulled by a fancy trike motorcycle.

Peabody resident Bill Ryan created the hearse and trike for his Iron Hearse Company, which he runs out of his home along with Those Blasted Signs, a business that used to be on Main Street Newton.

The trike and hearse are custom-built, he said. The trailer was finished about four weeks ago.

“Now it’s time to put it to work,” he said. “I’m going to make it available to all veterans and military.”

It’ll also be available to the general public. The cost, if used locally or in Sedgwick County, is $450. He also plans to bring his trike and hearse to Topeka to talk to the Kansas American Legion commander about wanting to donate 15 percent of every service he does to the American Legion Riders.

Ryan built almost everything.

“It took three years to build the trike,” he said. “The hearse trailer, about six months to build that.

Those utilizing the hearse, which Ryan will drive, need to tell the funeral home they have their own hearse. Ryan said it’s around $1,000 to use a funeral home hearse.

He has a large black trailer he uses to transport the trike and hearse. Those wishing to hire Ryan for a funeral can call him at 620-727-4611.

Because the company is so new, Ryan hasn’t had any business yet.

“We’re just trying to get this thing off the ground,” Ryan said. “There was a bunch of welding involved, even on the trailer. I already had the trailer, so we just had to weld the framework all the way around. A lot of fabricating in this trailer.”

David Blocher of Newton helped Ryan with the trike, and they did one thing to it.

“Everything,” Ryan said. “A good friend of mine helped me build the motor for it. I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Ryan had one reason he wanted to make this hearse and trike.

“Just to support veterans,” he said. “I’ve always been a big advocate for supporting the veterans.”

He himself is a Vietnam veteran and ran the Newton Toy Run for 18 years. He’s also a past several-year commander of the Newton American Legion.

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