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Elkhart man hosts his own pre-emptive wake

ELKHART, Ind. --- Family and friends said goodbye to an Elkhart man for the last time on Saturday.

More than 150 people gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Garden Street for Evan Lefever’s pre-emptive wake. His family said Lefever came up with the idea while in hospice.

“It was his preference,” Chloe Lawrence, Lefever’s daughter. “That the people he knows the most loves the most gather with him.”

Many people went to a podium at the front of the church to tell stories about Lefever. His sister said she remembered how Lefever gave her a journal as a gift one year.

“It was the most fabulous gift in the world because now I have a way to make money so thank you so much, you cheapskate,” she said.

One of Lefever’s friends made him an origami cup while she talked about what he meant to her.

“You have a very practical way of showing love, goodwill, and respect,” she said. “So I give you something really practical just in case you need it.”

Lefever was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last October. His family said the cancer was too far along for treatment.

“I have not known you long enough,” Lawrence told her father.

Many people in Elkhart know Lefever as a skilled handyman, HVAC guru, plumber, and engineer. Those people were in the room on Saturday to say goodbye.

“I’m overjoyed,” Lefever said. “I’m just hoping I can start a precedent, do this type of thing more often for someone else.”

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