Most Funerals Don’t Involve a Free Car. This One Was Different.

An Okahoma City funeral involved a chance to win the deceased's car

October 15, 2023 8:37 am
1996 VW Bug
Attend a funeral; possibly win a VW Bug. No, really.
Tim Brakemeier/picture alliance via Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to attend a funeral — to honor the memory of a loved one, to show support to a grieving friend or because of a personal or professional obligation. Ask almost anyone leaving a funeral if they’re there for the raffle and you’re likely to get some very nasty looks. You might even find yourself in the middle of a fight.

This was not the case at a recent funeral in Oklahoma City, however. Yes, there was a raffle — and yes, that raffle did have a winner. And in this case, the winner wound up with a car of their own — which, to be fair, is not how these things tend to go.

Writing at The Washington Post, Jonathan Edwards has more details on the unconventional funeral of Diane Sweeney, who died last July at the age of 68. As Edwards writes, Sweeney informed her relatives that she wanted to raffle off her 2016 VW Beetle to one of the attendees of her funeral.

Over 100 people showed up to the funeral, signed the guestbook and then waited. Over the course of the next year and change, Sweeney’s family sorted out her estate in probate court — and then, as Edwards reports, they reviewed the names of people who had signed the guestbook at the funeral and held the raffle.

In the end, the winner of Sweeney’s car was Gabriella Bonham, who had recently gotten her learner’s permit when she learned of the raffle — and who had traveled over two hours with several family members in tow to attend the funeral.

Hackers Won a Tesla After Successfully Breaking a Tesla
Kind of the opposite of “you break it, you buy it”

Sweeney’s niece, Suzanna Singleterry, told the Post that the raffle was “a reflection of herself and her sense of humor, and wanting to go out making people feel happy and giving them one last laugh.” It’s hard to argue with improving the life of a complete stranger — as final acts go, it’s one well worth being remembered for.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.