Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Greetings from Coffinwood

CoffinitupIf you are heading west of Las Vegas, you might pass through the town of Pahrump and notice one of the most unique family businesses around.

Bryan and Dusty Schoening’s home is an attraction in of itself with its eleven restored hearses, two front-yard cemeteries, coffin-shaped greenhouse, and coffin-shaped gazebo.  The home is also the headquarters of Coffin It Up, Bryan’s custom coffin business.  Besides making customized coffins starting at $1,000, Bryan also specializes in making coffin-shaped furniture, jewelry, purses, coolers, and anything else that can be made into a coffin.

Dusty says many clients order coffins for religious reasons or because they came here from another country.  Bryan notes that America is the only place that really uses caskets, which are rectangular-shaped.  Coffins, on the other hand, resemble a human being with six or eight sides.

Bryan and Dusty met at a Los Angeles protest over the use of circus elephants.  One of their front-yard cemeteries is a pet cemetery with approximately 20 buried animals, including a headstone dedicated to Stoney, a Las Vegas performing elephant.  The other cemetery honors the memories of the dead, including the ex-planet Pluto.  No people are buried there, but fans and locals have donated headstones paying respect to their deceased loved ones.

Bryan and Dusty’s coffin-shaped gazebo isn’t just for decoration.  They use it to perform weddings through their nondenominational church, the Church of the Coffin.  Bryan became an ordained minister and now marries at least one couple a year.  At first mistaken for a death cult, the Church of the Coffin serves to marry those of any faith.

So next time you pass through Pahrump, stop by and check out Coffinwood.  Bryan and Dusty offer tours to anyone who calls or emails ahead of time.  Even though they might be surrounded by the eerie and morbid, Dusty says it’s all about life for them.  “Coffins are a reminder that that’s the end result.  That’s where we are all going to end up, so you might as well appreciate everything you have right now.”

See Sandy Lopez, Pahrump Couple’s Coffinwood Part of Family Business, Review Journal, Nov. 13, 2013.


Death Event Planning, Religion, Travel | Permalink

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