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‘Thank you for coming’: Cruisers make 94-year-old car enthusiast’s last dream come true

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 8:03 PM EDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT Shoemaker and his late wife shared since Cruisin’ began 25 years ago.

While he can’t make Cruisin this year, his family brought cruisers to him.

In come antique cars cruising down Park Court North Street in Biloxi. This is not an official scheduled route for cruisers, but it’s a slight detour that brought a smile to Shoemaker’s face as his final wish came true.

Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT...
Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT Shoemaker and his late wife shared since Cruisin began 25 years ago.(WLOX)

“His hospice nurse Tracey Ladner put it on Facebook. We shared it on Facebook pages. We shared it to Cruisin the Coast Facebook page and the last we know it was shared over two thousand times.”

The heartfelt greetings, the waves to people he never met, this all took him back to the start of Cruisin’ more than two decades ago with his late wife Margie.

“He and my mother were the shine of the show. As soon as the music started it didn’t matter where they were, they got up on the danced,” said his son Jimmie Shoemaker.

His family knows there won’t be any more dancing from Shoemaker as his health grows weaker.

Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT...
Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT Shoemaker and his late wife shared since Cruisin began 25 years ago.(WLOX)

“He has congested heart failure,” said his daughter Vicki Shoemaker-Wilkerson. “Heart is very weak. Due to the lack of circulation, his legs just quit working and his legs aren’t able to work at all. And so we brought it to him since we couldn’t him to it.”

Family members know every day is not promised and that’s why it was so special to make sure Shoemaker laid eyes on something he’s always had a strong love for, one last time.

Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT...
Cruisin’ the Coast brings back many memories for one 94-year-old Biloxi man. Memories JT Shoemaker and his late wife shared since Cruisin began 25 years ago.(WLOX)

“It’s awesome. I’ve loved to watch him name the cars,” said granddaughter Adrienne Wilkerson. “He can tell you if it’s an original paint job or they’ve modified it.”

Mr. Shoemaker not only had a love for classic antiques but also NASCAR. He attended the NASCAR race in Talladega, Alabama twice a year for more than 20 years.

Click here to see a full list of Cruisin’ the Coast events happening now through Sunday.

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