Funeral procession includes trip through car wash to honor longtime employee

CAMBY, Ind. (WISH) — You know the saying: If you love your job you will never work a day in your life. That was the truth for David Duke, which is why his family decided that he needed to clock in one last time before reaching his final resting place.

Duke spent more than a decade greeting every car that drove through Soft Touch Auto Wash in Camby.

“I met him a little over 11 years ago. He came and applied for the job, filled out an application, came back every other day for about three days and I said, ‘Why don’t you just start,’” said Mike Harrell, owner of Soft Touch Auto Wash.

Mike Harrell (middle), David Duke (right)

Since he started, there have been very few days that he hadn’t at least stopped by the car wash.

“He would find any excuse he could to go there on his days off to you know, check the parking lot for coins and make sure there was no trash anywhere,” said Kristen Driver, David Duke’s daughter.

David passed away unexpectedly last week. When planning his funeral, his daughter wanted to do something special.

David Duke
Photo courtesy: Kristen Driver

“I have this crazy idea. I don’t know if it would be possible, but I am going to go for it,” Driver recalled saying.

So she called the funeral home to arrange it.

“They said that that was the first time that they had ever done that as well as Mike Herrell. He said, ‘I have never done anything like this,’” said Driver.

After the funeral, Duke’s hearse would make a special stop at the place where he spent most of his time and made countless connections.

“Everybody knew him by name. They recognized him when we worked. People have been asking us where he is, and he was just a one-of-a-kind person to have work here,” said Harrell.

Harrell admits he has had plenty of hearses come through his car wash, but this is the first time that it wasn’t empty. He says he was honored to do it for Duke.

“The night before he passed, he had his lunch packed ready to go to work. He had his outfit laid out, and so I wanted to make sure he made it to work,” said Driver.

Driver made a TikTok of that final wash which has now gotten almost 200,000 views.