The Funeral Crashers of Seattle

A pair of uninvited party guests used to show up at Seattle events back in the day, steal slices of cake, and get into fights with each other.



Interesting Story. Thanks for this. I was born and raised on Queen Anne Hill in 1980, so I tustve just missed this odd pair. But I do remember similar characters from childhood. These eccentrics seem to be less common these days, at least in the areas I frequent. I'm sure they still exist, but are probably more shut-in and disillusioned by our increasingly disconnected society.


A very Seattle version of the Connecticut "Leatherman Vagabond".


Back in Iowa, you always had to count on old people you didn't know coming to funerals and the lunches afterwards. Papa Vel-DuRay's funeral was very well-attended and the luncheon was full of people we had never seen, but at $1.50 a head we didn't care. The same thing happened when Mother Vel-DuRay was called home to be with Jesus. (speaking of mothers hitting people with umbrella's, she would be hitting me right now for using that phrase).

School programs were another big thing, for there was always free coffee and baked goods (and ice cream in warmer weather). Try going to a program at a Seattle Public School if you have no affiliation with any of the students - the mommy brigade gives you the heave-ho.

When I worked at the Olympic Hotel, they served free coffee in the lobby every morning from 5am - 7am, and we always had a crowd of genteel seniors in the lobby taking advantage of that.


Holy shit. This is the best article of the past and future five years. Do you have any more articles you're pitching to the Stranger? Buy them folks!

Livejournaling into the property records file is amazing. But how much did he pay in filing fees for all those, I wonder? I'd say it would be fascinating to dig it up and read it, except I fear it would be boring and offputting.


I recall hearing a number of years ago that there was indeed film in Goerge's cameras, and that a young nun had taken on the project of having it all developed and the photos archived; don't know if that ever happened...


I've heard of people (long ago on Long Island) showing up to random funerals on the grounds that they're providing a service, it would be too sad if nobody came to your funeral, and it's important for the community to be there with the family. Also for the casserole and cold cut spread. Though sometimes they would bring food, which is a different ballgame.

@1 I think these days the same people don't last as long before becoming homeless, and then people don't really look at them or think they have an individual story.


@6, that is probably true as well. It would be hard to pay property taxes with a social security check these days.


I wish there were photos that went along with this story.


I just ate a bag of cheese nips and some funny cookie cracker things that i found in a vending machine.


I remember seeing George and Pansy on the bus all the time when I was young. I’d also see them downtown quite a lot, usually at bus stops. They were always very animated and I could never take my eyes off of them because of their eccentricities. Thanks for the memories.


Excellent story idea. When can we expect more Seattle local history and lovely sentiments about people who are gone? Such compassionate writing! More, please.


There's free Cake?


I asked a retired bus driver friend of mine if he remembered George & Pansy and he wrote back-
"Hell yes I knew those two. Probably rode on my buses thirty to fifty times. I loved em. Very entertaining.
Pansy would sit up by the front door and George about halfway back. Didn’t stop them from bickering with each other of course.
I could usually interrupt the bickering with a question to Pansy, “Is that a new hat you’re wearing?” Just enough to distract them for a bit. I do remember they rode in the evening and even later at night. I also recall them on the old trolley buses that I loved driving."


I totally remember George and Pansy! They were legendary in my family. My Dad was a wedding photographer in the early 70's and he would tell us all about them showing up at every wedding. Up to that point we had thought they just attended all the St. Joe's events. I wish he had kept his photos because they were all over them.


This made my day. Thank you!


I worked at Safeco title, right out of college, in 1974. I saw George and Pansy frequently. What I remember most is that a George always had a camera strapped around his neck and he took pictures. We always joked that he had no film in his camera.


George wouldn’t just come to an event. As mentioned he had his camera around his neck. I remember him many times going right up the middle of the aisle to the front - whether important speaker, church service, or whatever - and dramatically pausing to snap the photo. A truly funny “ awkward moment” would ensue that couldn’t help but result in a smile.