One man is taking his undying love of Duke’s Mayonnaise to the grave.
Larry Clinton, of Bessemer City, N.C. grew up eating the spread and loved it so much, the 67-year-old told his wife one day at a funeral service that he wanted his cremated remains to be buried in an empty jar, his daughter Teresa Clinton-Edge said.
What began as a joke turned into a family’s quest over 20 years to find suitable Duke’s jar for their dad.
“My father eats Duke’s Mayonnaise on everything: peaches, pears, baloney sandwiches, banana sandwiches,” Clinton-Edge told ABC News. “He says he cannot remember a time that Duke’s wasn’t a part of his family and the food. I’m 43 and that’s the only mayo we’ve ever eaten.”
One sleepless night about two weeks ago, Clinton-Edge decided to contact C.F. Sauer, the parent company of Duke’s Mayonnaise explaining the situation. She was surprised to receive a reply from Mark Sauer, Executive Vice President of the company.
Sauer said he received a “very sweet” email from Clinton’s daughter, explaining her father’s last wish.
“She sent a very nice letter saying her father had always loved Duke’s Mayo and included a funny story about her father being at a funeral and telling his wife ‘I’d like to get buried in a jar’.” Sauer told ABC News.
The company obliged, contacting their label makers to help prepare two bespoke glass jars and labels printed with Clinton’s full name on them.
“They were custom all the way,” said Sauer. “We took the basis of the label and with the swirl on the bottom and put his name in there. His daughter said he was just delighted.”
Surprisingly, this is not the first request the company had received for a custom made jar intended to use as an urn. About nine years ago, Sauer said he was contacted by an elderly lady who lived in a hamlet in the mountains of North Carolina. The woman requested four empty glass jars of Duke’s Mayonnaise to put her ashes in – one to give to each of her daughters when she dies.
Sauer explained the company is 126 years old and has been making Duke’s mayonnaise for around 97 years.
“It’s so generational, people have grown up with it” said Sauer on the popularity of the product. “It is a cult product, and around here there are lots of regional products that have big followings.”
Since the story about Clinton’s request went public, Sauer has received two more jar requests for the same purpose within the last day.
“I know it sounds — well I don’t know how it sounds — but you almost have to do this. It’s somebody’s last wish so it takes a couple of days and a few bucks from us,” said Sauer.
“We are so incredibly grateful,” Clinton-Edge added. “My dad is truly loving it, but we hope not to have to use the jars anytime soon.”