The funeral of Frederick (Fred) Norman Lee, who passed away at the age of 97 last week, took place at Radford cemetery in Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland, on Friday. Fred who was founder and former owner of Industrial Packaging Ltd in Bray was buried in cardboard tube. It is believed he is the first person ever to be buried in a cardboard cylinder coffin. It was his wish to be buried in a cardboard tube and his family made the necessary arrangements to grant that wish.
In the 1950s, he established the highly successful Industrial Packaging Limited and became a multi-millionaire The company is now run by some of his sons.
His fifth son, Ken said: “While there are eco companies which sell cardboard coffins, being buried in a cardboard tube is a different matter.
Dad always said ‘why don’t we use cardboard tubes to bury people?’
You can use a boring drill to make the hole in the ground and bury people standing up, which is usual in some religions.”
The tube Mr Lee was buried in had a diameter of 650mm and would usually be used for casting concrete columns.
Ken explained that the cardboard can be more durable than wood.
“It is 12 sheets, each covered in a layer of water-proof glue,” he said. “He was the king of the cardboard tubes and now he’s been buried in one,” he added.
“Fred went to meet his maker in one of his own tubes and may he rest in peace.”
Mr Lee’s coffin tube had been engraved with how he was the loving husband of Patricia and proud father of his children.
While Mr Lee spoke about being buried vertically, he was buried horizontally because, as he was being placed into the same grave as his late wife, it would have been logistically difficult to do it that way.
Having spoken to the undertaker, the family were told that there were no problems with the plan.
The other option Mr Lee had suggested for his burial was at sea.
After the war he remained a keen seaman and was a member of a number of yacht clubs.
But his family believed the cardboard tube would be a more fitting send off. He had spoken about his new idea for coffins over the last 35 years.