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Man granted dying wish of being buried with cheesesteaks

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Credit: Pat's King of Steaks Credit: Pat's King of Steaks
Richard Lussi / legacy.com Richard Lussi / legacy.com

TODAY Show — Do you have a favorite food that you love so much you’d want to take it with you to the afterlife? One grandpa did — and he actually got his wish.

Richard Lussi of Plains Township, Pennsylvania was a super fan of the cheesesteaks at Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia. The sandwiches were so dear to him, in fact, that he told his family he wanted to be buried with the meaty-cheesy subs when he died.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Lussi fell in love with Pat’s when a friend took him there before a Phillies game decades ago and, ever since, Lussi always made a point to stop by when he was near the area — even though Pat's was a two-and-a-half hour drive from his home.

The 76-year-old father of four and grandfather of seven died of heart complications on Oct. 10, but expressed his dying wish involving the cheesesteaks to the family before his passing. His special request? “No onions because they’ll come back to haunt me,” grandson Dominic Lussi told the paper.

Cheesesteaks are an iconic Philadelphia food, and Pat’s is the original — it's where the famous sandwich was first invented by Pat Olivieri over 80 years ago. The dish features thinly sliced steak, typically grilled with chopped onions and topped with melted cheese on a long bread roll.

The day before Lussi’s funeral, his son and grandson drove to Philadelphia to eat at Pat’s and picked up two extra sandwiches to place in Richard’s coffin, with the intention of honoring the recently deceased's dying wish.

“We were just going to get one but my pop always said, ‘If you’re going to Pat’s you always get two, you never order just one. It’s a waste of time,’” Dominic said.

At the funeral, a photo board displayed special images from Richard’s life and alongside snaps of the father and grandfather hunting, fishing and hanging with family, there were of course photos of him with his beloved cheesesteaks.

The sandwiches are so precious that, according to the family, the funeral director advised the Lussis to lay the sandwiches in the casket after the viewing, otherwise he warned visitors might have thought they were part of the spread and taken them.

Pat’s owner Frank Olivieri Jr. said he was “flattered, bewildered, and proud” that someone would want to take one of their sandwiches with them to the afterlife.

He added, “Maybe it’s a bribe for St. Peter."