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Disco balls, beer and dancing: Funeral director talks unique requests

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BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) -

Disco balls, beer, and dancing: This was not a typical wake. The deceased wasn't displayed in a casket. Instead, she was sitting upright in the front of the room with a beer and cigarette in hand.

53-year old Miriam Burbank was a self described party girl in life.  So when the New Orleans resident passed away, her family thought it only appropriate she attend once last party.

"There is a personalization drive going on and, I guess that's considered personalization to some individuals," said Bessemer funeral director Howard G. Johnson.

He's never had a customer ask for something this bizarre, but there are requests.

"We'll have families that will ask us to place something in a loved one's pocket," he said. "And that's okay, because again, it's confidential."

Johnson says his funeral home probably would never allow something like this.  However, he's not that surprised someone else did.

"We live in a society now where extreme is somewhat becoming norm."

The funeral director can even recall of hearing of similar situations. "A gentleman some years ago was a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He was propped up in a recliner with his Steelers throw and jersey and all of the Steelers garb," said Johnson. "We have a society today that's kind of 'have it your way' and I guess that's one of the results."

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