In 1989, the body of Bredo Morstoel traveled from Norway to the U.S., eventually coming to rest in Nederland, Colorado, where his grandson planned to operate a cryonics lab. Though the facility never opened, “Grandpa” Bredo remains famously frozen—in a storage shed. He’s a “living” example of the need for estate and funeral planning.
People from around the globe come to celebrate Grandpa Bredo’s “on ice” existence during the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival. The 13th annual Frozen Dead Guy Days, a wild and wacky celebration with a hearse parade, coffin races, polar plunges, great music and lots of icy fun, takes place March 7 to 9, 2014.
How did Grandpa become the Frozen Dead Guy? Grandpa Bredo, an elderly, hardy outdoorsman, died in Norway from a heart condition. He was cross-country skiing alone and was pretty well frozen by the time he was discovered.
Grandson Trygve packed Bredo in dry ice for shipment to a U.S. cryonics facility that did a formal deep freeze. In 1993, Trygve, hoping to start his own cryonics service, moved Grandpa to his concrete bunker home in Nederland, a tiny town 17 miles west of Boulder.
Trygve was deported back to Norway in 1995 due to visa issues. His mother Aud, who was taking care of the body, was deported soon after. Following much local hue and cry over rules regarding the keeping of bodies in Nederland, Grandpa Bredo was “grandfathered in.”
He has been kept in a TUFF SHED-sheltered, dry ice-fueled deep freeze in Nederland ever since. The family sends money monthly to keep replenishing the 1,600 pounds of dry ice that keeps Grandpa frozen.
What lessons can your clients learn from this strange-but-true story?
- You never know when you might drop dead. Get those wills, trusts and advance directives in place today!
- If you prefer cremation to a deep freeze, spell it out in a letter of instruction and share it with your family NOW.
- Even better, go shopping at several funeral homes, pick the one you want to work with and put your wishes on file with a pre-need counselor.
- To ensure those plans are honored, pre-pay your funeral with a pre-need insurance policy or insurance trust. This keeps the investment safe while locking in today’s prices on the elements the funeral home controls.
- Never ski alone.
The whole true story of Grandpa, Trygve, Aud and the town of Nederland is told in the 30-minute documentary, “Grandpa’s in the TUFF SHED.” I’ll be in Nederland showing the film and conducting The Newly-Dead Game® on Saturday and Sunday at the Black Forest Restaurant. Learn more about the festival at www.FrozenDeadGuyDays.org.
Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is author of the award-winning book and host of the TV and radio shows A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. She recently earned the designation Certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She’s a pioneering Death Café hostess who starts the funeral planning conversation with a light touch on a serious subject. The A Good Goodbye TV series, now available on DVD, features an episode on estate planning with attorney Jim Plitz of AAEPA-member firm Morris, Hall and Kinghorn. Gail is an ongoing contributor to the AAEPA blog. Her website is http://agoodgoodbye.com/ .
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