Medina residents Terry and Gayle Miller took a trip to Hell and made it back with a story to tell.
The couple, who have been married nine years, made their 10th annual trip Sept. 17 to Hell, Mich., for the “Last Rides Reunion.”
At the reunion, members of the Just Hearse N’ Around club, like the Millers and George Corral and Mandy Porter of Lodi, drive their hearses through town each year and host a show of modified — not restored — hearses.
The club, founded in 2001, is based in Hell. The club began with four members and today there are more than 55, according to www.justhearsenaround.com.
“A retired police officer runs the club. He lives close to Hell, so that is where it is based out of … and, of course, it sounds cool,” Terry Miller said. “We go to Hell once a year, and it’s a very active club there. It’s 200 miles each way and a bit of a cruise, but it’s totally worth it.”
Sept. 17 was special for Miller and Just Hearse N’ Around. He celebrated his 63rd birthday and the club attempted to set a Guinness record for largest parade of hearses.
They needed 50 participants to get into the Guinness Book of World Records and the club had 51.
The parade through the streets of Hell took about 15 minutes and the group traveled a mile bumper to bumper. The record was videotaped and is listed on YouTube under largest parade of hearses.
Some hearses blared Halloween-themed music, while others sounded sirens and horns.
Miller said this was the second time the group attempted to set the record.
“An attempt was made last year, but we were rained out and didn’t have enough drivers. There is some serious competition for the record, and we are so excited that we were the first to get it,” he said. “There’s a group in California, the Phantom Coaches, who has tried to get it, but they’ve been unsuccessful. I just think it’s awesome that we can say not only did we set the record, but we were the first.”
The Guinness Book of World Records has not confirmed the record was set. An email sent to the group Monday said it is expected to take up to eight weeks for confirmation, according to the club’s website.
The Millers own three hearses: a 1953 Packard, 1984 Buick and a 1989 Lincoln Continental.
Terry Miller’s love of hearses began early, he said.
“I owned one in high school, and it wasn’t all that well received,” he said, laughing. “I got the Internet in 2000 and randomly looked up hearses one day and saw the groups and the clubs that exist because of hearses and I immediately ran out and bought one.”
Terry and Gayle met in the 1970s, but didn’t start dating until around 2000.
“When I told my wife I owned a hearse, she said, ‘Oh, cool,’ ” he remembered. “Her family enjoys Halloween and the season just as much as I do, so it’s always been a really fun thing for us. It’s like a hobby that we enjoy together, and I couldn’t be happier.
“To be with someone who is so fun is amazing.”
For information on the record attempt, visit www.largestparadeofhearses.info.
Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.