The Custom Casket for Willie the Wimp
William Morris “Flukey” Stokes was a notorious figure in the Chicago underworld. Hailing from the South Side, Stokes was known for his extravagant fashion sense, which often included silk suits and diamond rings. He made his fortune as a drug trafficker and owner of several pool halls. In 1985, he arranged for the decadent funeral for his murdered 28-year-old son, Willie "the Wimp" Stokes, Jr. in February 1984. Flukey was murdered two years later in November of 1986 at the age of 47.
Willie the Wimp was given a unique and extravagant send-off. His casket was custom-designed to look like a Cadillac Seville, complete with functioning headlights and taillights, whitewall tires, a windshield, and even a vanity license plate with his nickname "Wimp". At his viewing, Willie was positioned in the driver's seat with his hands on the steering wheel, dressed in a flashy red suit, gray hat, and diamond rings. To add to the spectacle, several $100 bills were placed between his fingers. His father was also buried in a similar fashion, as seen in the photo.
The song "Willie the Wimp" has an interesting history. Originally released by Bill Carter as "Willy the Wimp (And His Cadillac Coffin)" on his 1985 album, Stompin' Grounds, the song features Jimmie Vaughan on lead guitar. However, it was Stevie Ray Vaughan who gained more recognition for his version of the song, which he released on his Live Alive album in July 1986.
Photo taken by Bettmann