ALTON - Terry Geisler of Dorchester near Gillespie and Zack Hunter didn’t know each other, but they shared something in common – a love of the 1969 Mach 1 Mustang.
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Zack Hunter died tragically at noon, Sunday, April 17, from injuries sustained in a car accident earlier in the month. His funeral was held Friday morning at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The funeral procession left the church around 11:30 a.m. for the cemetery. Right before the procession started, Geisler cranked up the engine of the 1969 Mustang and pulled behind the Alton Police to lead the group of cars in the procession.
Scott Hunter, Zack’s father, got in touch with the Southern Illinois Mustang Chapter to see if anyone had a 1969 Mustang and he was able to locate Geisler, who was more than happy to bring his treasured car to ride at the front of the funeral procession in Zack’s memory.
“I would do this for anyone who asked,” Terry Geisler said. “This brings a lot of memories back of when I lost my brother, Corey Geisler, in 2002 in a motorcycle accident. He had a love of Mustangs too, and we did the same roundup for him at his funeral.
“Hands down I would do it, it kind of refreshes things with my brother. He had a 1993 Cobra Mustang. That is what we did, like another family to us. I am a member of the Southern Illinois Mustang Association. They give a trophy in his memory every year in a roundup at Roberts Ford for Mustangs. I have had my Mustang for two years. Mine is a work in progress. It was my dream car, just like Zack’s. I waited 20 years and I finally bought one.”
The 1969 model Mustang cars are “very expensive” and “are rare,” Terry Geisler said. “I love hot rods and building cars.”
Emotionally, after Terry Geisler heard about it, he said he had been torn up about the loss of Zack Hunter.
“The Hunter family seems like a real nice family and it is a heart-wrenching thing to go through,” Geisler said. “I feel their pain. My brother died in an accident on Moro Road and 159 and it was during the day at a really bad intersection. Now they have thankfully put a stop there.”
Terry Geisler had a way to describe why he and Zack and others share the love of the Mustang.
“It is a true, genuine American muscle car,” he said.
Geisler said the Mustang to owners is better than any drug. “All you need is the feel of the Mustang’s horsepower,” he said.
The Dorchester man obtained his Mustang two years ago from a sergeant at Scott Air Force Base who had advertised it on Craig’s List.
“The man told me the price was firm and it was a good car,” Terry Geisler said. “It had 79,000 miles and he had purchased it in Texas. I have been working on it for two years on the suspensions and getting it ready.”
There is no doubt to either Scott Hunter or Terry Geisler that one day, Zack would have had a 1969 Mustang had he lived on. Scott Hunter said Zack was already devising ways of how he would one day get his treasured car. Now, his father, Scott may invest in one in his son's memory.
For a few moments Friday morning, Zack had a 1969 Mustang in his presence as he was taken to his final resting place. Thanks to Terry Geisler, it is something the Hunter family will never forget.