Alexandra Kathryn Mosca shook up the funeral industry when she posed for Playboy magazine. It was a bold move for someone who made her living in the staid funeral industry. But that was only one of her life’s adventures. She also attended the funeral of Mob boss John Gotti, and handled the remains of passengers killed in the crash of Flight 587, in Queens, New York. In 2003, Grave Undertakings was published. The book was a memoir of Mosca’s unique career as a female funeral director, beginning at a time when a female presence was uncommon. That book inspired other young women to follow in her footsteps.
In the intervening years, Mosca became well-known and respected in her industry, writing about industry concerns and debunking myths about funeral service, and funeral fads. She authored two more books about New York’s most notable cemeries, becoming known as a cemetery historian. She has also covered funerals of the famous –Mayor Ed Koch, Gov. Mario Cuomo, comedienne Joan Rivers, Justice Antonin Scalia, Det. Stephen McDonald, among them. With her special blend of wit, sensitivity, and a seasoned perspective, Mosca continues to make her mark in funeral service.
I was pleased to share my view of funeral service, gleaned from the work I’ve done, the experiences of my colleagues, and the perspective of the thousands of families I’ve served over the years. Despite what you may read in slanted press articles (with the fringe and/or inexperienced being used as sources to further a false narrative), funerals are as important as they ever were.
Five Things I’ve learned in my long career as a funeral director Life. Death. Whatever., May 6, 2019