In an attempt to capture his deceased son doing what he loved one more time, the father of poker player Henry Rosario Martinez had him embalmed and propped up at a poker table posing with loved ones, according NY Post story published Tuesday. The deathly tribute must have been a good gamble since Martinez’s final presence at the table reportedly drew a full house of mourners. Martinez, 31, who was known as an avid gambler, died earlier this month allegedly from alcohol poisoning and an overdose of prescription pills in his hometown of Barceloneta Puerto Rico, according to a report published Tuesday.
Dad had the undertakers embalm his son, dress him in dark casual clothes including a baseball cap and dark shades topped off with a zip-up sweatshirt bearing the initials N-Y for New York. A full house of friends gathered around the corpse that was holding his final card to swap stories and pose for pictures with their dead friend. Jose Melendez, owner of Eterna Luz Funeral Services, said he’s never posed a corpse upright before but that it’s not particularly unusual for grieving relatives to request such an arrangement for departed loved ones.
”It’s the first time we ever did this here. But we take it as something normal because this kind of things has been done in other parts of our country” (Puerto Rico). Even though his luck ran out in life, Martinez was depicted with a large stack of chips before him.
In 2014, a Puerto Rican boxer’s family honored his dying wish by posing him dressed in fighting gear in the corner of a fake boxing ring. Christopher Rivera’s ashen enbalmed body was decked out in boxing gloves, hoodie, dark shades and sneakers. While in death he appeared capable of throwing a knockout punch, Rivera, 23, died of gunshot wounds after amassing a less than stellar 5-15 fight record in the 130 pound weight class. As in the case of Martinez, mourners took cellphone shots of each other posing with the corpse. Some pointed at him and imitated his figure.
The simulated boxing ring was installed at a local community recreation center of the public housing project where Rivera lived in San Juan. Rivera’s mother, Celines Amaro, wife Lidianette Carmona and son Julio Christopher posed with the body as though presenting Rivera for his next fight.
Elsie Rodriguez, a vice president of the funeral home that staged the wake, said his company has planned unusual vigils for others before. After his murder in 2010, a Puerto Rican motorcycle racer, David Morales Colon, made international headlines when he was posed as though tearing down a racetrack on his motorcycle. While Colon appeared to be all about speed in his final pose, his lifeless corpse wasn’t going anywhere fast.
While grieving Puerto Rican-style may seem bizarre in most cultures, the practice is becoming common in that country. When Miriam Burbank passed away, for example, her family asked that she be embalmed in a seated position with a glass of Busch beer and a menthol cigarette in her hand. To her daughters, this was the perfect send-off for their mom.