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Hunter Thompson's Ashes Stuffed Into Fireworks Shells
Writer Requested His Ashes Be Blasted From Monument Near His Home
1:35 AM, Aug 17, 2005
The last trip for the father of Gonzo journalism will explode from a launching tower rather than a cannon, according to those organizing Hunter S. Thompson's memorial.The organizers include Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, a family-owned western Pennsylvania fireworks company that has packed Thompson's ashes in 34 shells in preparation for the memorial Saturday at his Owl Farm estate in Woody Creek, Colo.Thompson, who shot himself to death six months ago at age 67, asked that his ashes be blasted out of a 150-foot-tall monument behind his home. "This would probably rank as one of the most unusual requests we've had," company spokeswoman Marcy Zambelli said. Thompson's widow, Anita, hand delivered the writer's ashes to Zambelli's Lawrence County plant on Aug. 9, Zambelli said. "It was very important for the family to meet everyone in the plant involved in the project. They wanted to know how the ashes would be treated," Zambelli said. Zambelli workers custom-designed brown paper cylindrical shells that will be used in the aerial display. The shells will be launched from a monument modeled after Thompson's Gonzo logo: a clenched fist, made symmetrical with the addition of a second thumb, perched atop a dagger.Organizers estimate the cost of the event will be about $2.5 million, funded by actor Johnny Depp.A bulletproof truck was enroute to Colorado Wednesday, carrying the pyrotechnic display and Hunter's ashes.Saturday's event will include performances by Lyle Lovett, former Nitty Gritty Dirt Band singer/guitarist Jimmy Ibbotson and a Japanese drum band, which is expected to hit its crescendo as Thompson's ashes are fired into the sky at sunset, the Aspen Daily News reported.