Indiana town honors longtime gravedigger: “Allen has figured out what life is about”

If there was ever an election for kindest American, the people of Galveston, Indiana, know who they’d nominate. 

Allen McCloskey, the town’s 89-year-old grave digger, is “out there to help everybody” and is “just a special guy,” according to his neighbors. 

Who is this great humanitarian? Turns out that the man who lifts up the people of Galveston is the same man who puts them down.

McCloskey is the town’s gravedigger, and has been in his job since 1952. He’s buried plenty of residents, including his wife Barbara.

“I figured she’d want me to do it,” McCloskey, a father of three, said. 

Allan McCloskey.

Steve Hartman / On The Road

He’s also worked plenty of odd jobs around town, and treats everyone like family —which might explain why a good chunk of the town gathered recently for a surprise party in McCloskey’s honor. 

At the party, he was honored with an official Guinness World Record for the longest career as a grave digger. The town’s residents also honored him for the thousands of odd jobs he’s done and the ways he’s made life easier for the people of Galveston, all without accepting a single payment. 

“We’d ask Allen for a bill, and he wouldn’t give us a bill,” one resident said.

“You’d never hear anything more about it,” another added. 

When asked why he refused to accept payment, McCloskey only laughed. 

“Allen has figured out what life is about,” one resident of the town said. “It’s not the money that makes him happy. I truly believe that Allen has figured out where enough is at. He’s found ‘enough.'” 

And the strange thing about finding enough? Sometimes, like McCloskey, you end up with even more. 

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: [email protected].

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