A Family Honored Their Grandfather’s Wishes and Buried Him With Cheesesteaks

Off to see the great hoagie in the sky. Photo: Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ancient people were sometimes buried with coins to further their passage in the afterlife. In Pennsylvania, at least one man asked to be buried with his favorite sandwich: two Philly cheesesteaks from Pat’s King of Steaks. The unusual death rites, reports, were carried out for Richard Lussi, who passed away last month at the age of 75 following heart complications.

Lussi lived over two hours away from Philadelphia in Plains Township, but was devoted to Pat’s and counted cheesesteaks among his great loves. His first encounter happened, appropriately, before a Phillies game, sparking what would be a lifelong romance.

The day before the funeral, his son John, grandson Dominic, and two of John’s friends drove to Philadelphia to eat cheesesteaks and get two extra ones — Whiz without, no onions — for Richard. (The family doubled up on the order because Richard would often say that just getting one was a waste.) When the services were held on October 14, John tells that the funeral director instructed him to wait to place the sandwiches in the casket “because people would take them.” The cheesesteaks were eventually placed by Richard’s hand after the viewing.

Pat’s owner Frank Olivieri Jr. responded to the story by telling he’s “flattered, bewildered, and proud.” He also speculated the sandwiches were a bribe for Saint Peter, which raises something very important: Can Pope Francis going to start Richard on the path to becoming the Saint of Cheesesteaks?

Family Buries Their Grandfather With Pat’s Cheesesteaks