Breaking News Bar
posted: 1/3/2014 5:30 AM

Restored Monte Carlo fulfills Illinois man's dying wish

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • This 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was recently restored by Kevin Pocrnich and many others throughout the Effingham community as a tribute to Ron Henderson, who recently died just days before the car was complete.

      This 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was recently restored by Kevin Pocrnich and many others throughout the Effingham community as a tribute to Ron Henderson, who recently died just days before the car was complete.
    Associated Press

  • Cathy Henderson and Kevin Pocrnich will sell at auction this 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that many in the Effingham community helped restore recently for Cathy's late husband, Ron Henderson, who died of cancer.

      Cathy Henderson and Kevin Pocrnich will sell at auction this 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that many in the Effingham community helped restore recently for Cathy's late husband, Ron Henderson, who died of cancer.

 
Associated Press

EFFINGHAM -- Ron Henderson's dying wish to have his 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo restored became more about the effect he had on those around him than about the project itself.

During his yearlong battle with melanoma, Ron served as an inspiration to many around him.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"When he first got diagnosed, I was a mess," said his wife, Cathy Henderson. "I had separation anxiety, but Ron took care of me."

Cathy credits Ron's spirituality and approach to life as the strength he needed to deal with the diagnosis.

"Ron started every day with a cup of tea and his Bible," she said.

"When he was diagnosed, he chose quality of life over chemotherapy," she said. "He wanted to enjoy the time we had left."

The last several months have been the most taxing of Cathy's life. In addition to losing her companion of 15 years, her mother passed away five weeks prior to Ron's death. Seeing the interaction between her mother and husband cemented her belief in her husband's remarkable spirit.

"My mother was sick for a long time before she died," she said "Ron was a mentor to her. I could tell Ron helped her with the fear. By the end, she didn't have that fear of dying."

Longtime friend Kevin Pocrnich echoed Ron's connection with others.

"Ron just had a way about him," he said. "He would do anything for anyone."

When Ron was diagnosed with the terminal illness, the two sat down to decide how he would spend his remaining time

"I asked him if he wanted to travel the world," recalled Pocrnich. "He said `I want to get that Monte going."'

About four months before his death, the friends pulled the car out of storage and began to disassemble it. Ron, who was from Greenup, commuted to his job at General Electric in Mattoon more than 20 years ago in the vehicle.

"The car needed everything," said Pocrnich. "It was in really bad shape."

Once they tore into the vehicle and began replacing various rust spots, friends and family started lending a hand. As word spread, local businesses and people within the community began donating toward the project as well.

"There were a lot of great people that got involved in the project," said Pocrnich. "Ron, my buddies and I started working on it in the morning and kept at it until midnight."

The 67-year-old's health, however, continued to deteriorate. Although he wasn't able to see the completed renovation -- he died two days before -- he was able to sit in the car and hear it run.

Pocrnich spent the morning of Ron's funeral fulfilling a promise to his friend. He put the last pieces of chrome on the vehicle and got a front-end alignment. He then loaded the car on a trailer and brought it to the visitation and funeral.

"Ron had a lot of people at his visitation," said Pocrnich. "Everybody loved seeing the car."

Coincidentally, after Ron and Cathy met, it was over her 1970s model Chevy Monte Carlo that the two bonded. ButCathy doesn't plan on keeping the newly renovated vehicle.

"He wanted me to have the car," she said. "It is a beautiful car, and I love what these guys have done, but I don't want it without Ron."

Cathy said Ron gave her his blessing to sell the car and donate the proceeds to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for cancer research.

Pocrnich estimates the Monte Carlo will bring $15,000 at an auction they are planning. No date has been set for the auction yet.

The Super Sport Chevy features a 454-cubic-inch motor and new top, paint, bodywork, interior, sound system, tires and rims, new front-end parts and much more.

"We all want the money to go to charity in Ron's memory," said Pocrnich.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.