Care Services makes oversize casket for world's heaviest man
---------The Scranton Tribune, December 30, 1991
Proving literally that no job is too big, Casket
Shells Inc. of Eynon is delivering today what is probably the world's largest casket.
The coffin, which itself weighs about 800 pounds, was designed for Walter Hudson, whose
body tipped the scales at 1125 poinds at his death on Christmas Eve.
The 46-year-old Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y., man, once listed in the Guinness Book of
World Records as the heaviest man alive, last made headlines in 1988 when he reduced his
weight from more than 1,200 poinds to 598 with the help of diet guru Dick Gregory.
He regained nearly all of the weight this year before dying of a heart attack.
CSI production manager Carl Short said the company, the world's largest producer of
specialty oversized caskets, relished this challenge.
"It had to be completely designed from the spec they (South Brooklyn, N.Y., Casket
Co.,) gave us," Short said, "They gave us his measurements. We know what
space we need."
Within 72 hours of receiving the order, CSI produced a specially reinforced,
velvet-lined box which is nearly twice the size of a conventioal casket.
It is 54 inches wide, compared to the conventional 28 inches; 40 inches deep, compared
to 25 inches; and 88 inches long, compared to 83 inches.
It took more than 300 man-hours to design and build, compared to 10.
Short said the casket is made of 16-gauge stell reinforced throughout the bottom and
corners with 1.5-inch angle iron.
The zinc handrails are secured by extra heavy bolts and washers through extra stell
All of the material came from special stock and had to be handformed. None of
this special casket was made on CSI's regular production line. Indeed, it would not
even fit on the line.
"Everybody (in the plant) was quite excited about it," Short noted.
"Everybody was quite pleased with how it turned out. It's the biggest one we've
The New York Daily News noted that a 4-foot-by-6-foot section of Hudson's
bedroom wall had to be knocked out to remove his body.
CSI had no such problems with his casket. "We've got some pretty big
doors," Short said. "We managed."
He could not speculate, however, on how well Hudson's pallbearers will manage.