“Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” was a popular country music tune that always made Jimmy Lehr smile.
In the years that Jimmy worked at the All Around Bar in Taylor, he would joke with the patrons and his coworkers that when he died, he wanted to be propped up beside the DJ booth at his home away from home.
His connection to the bar ran deep. Jimmy even married his sweetheart, Patty, at the All Around Bar on August 10, 1996.
So, when Jimmy passed away last Friday at the age of 59, his former coworkers and longtime friends knew what to do.
In the days that followed his death, staff, friends and carpenters who frequented the bar gathered to build Jimmy a beautiful old fashioned wooden cowboy coffin with rope handles.
His funeral would be at the All Around Bar, just like he always wanted.
“He was everybody’s ear, everybody’s shoulder to cry on. He was…respected and loved by a lot of people,” said Sheila Karlson, Jimmy’s friend and coworker.
The owner of the bar, Dave Karlson, opened the bar for Jimmy on Wednesday. Sheila says visitors came to pay their respects to Jimmy in his wooden coffin that sat in the middle of the bar floor.
Jimmy’s funeral will be held on Thursday.
“There’s no drinking going on here. It’s about Jimmy, it’s about his life. It’s been just like a funeral at a funeral home only warmer,” said Sheila.
Sheila says that no one that knew Jimmy was shocked to find out that his funeral was going to be at his second home. In fact, everyone who knew Jimmy, knew this is what he would have wanted.
“He was more a part of the bar than the bar was in some ways,” said Sheila.
Prop me up beside the juke box if I die
Lord, I want to go to heaven, but I don’t want to go tonight
Fill my boots up with sand, put a stiff drink in my hand
Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die
From “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” by Joe Diffie
Courtesy of WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit