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Is that a coffin in the den?

Woodworker Chuck Lakin makes caskets that double as furniture, before their final use.

Chuck Lakin (above) fashions coffins that can serve as entertainment centers (below) and bookcases (bottom). Chuck Lakin (above) fashions coffins that can serve as entertainment centers (below) and bookcases (bottom).
By Taryn Plumb
Globe Correspondent / October 27, 2011

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If you happen to visit Gini Landry’s home in Waterville, Maine, you’ll meet a vivacious, almost-octogenarian with an acute wit and a decades-long dedication to quilting. And if you’re curious, she’ll show you some of her needle-and-thread creations, 20 or 30 of them, folded up and displayed in a roughly 5-foot-tall rack in her guest bedroom. And if you’re even more curious, she’ll point out that that very case has a double purpose: when the final hour comes, it will convert into her coffin. “I’m four-foot, 11-inches tall, and shrinking,’’ the 79-year-old said with a wry grin. “It’s made to fit me.’’ That’s right: Every day, Landry is confronted, quite explicitly, with her own mortality, with a custom-made coffin now serving as a quilt rack and situated conveniently in her home for that fateful day that comes for all of us.

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