12+ Things You Should Know About Planning a Memorial Service

Two summers ago, my cousin Elizabeth died. Her death was sudden and occurred less than two weeks after the death of her mother. But unlike her mother, who had a traditional funeral, Elizabeth’s wish was to be cremated and to have her cremated remains scattered. In the interim, her two sisters and I put together a memorialContinue reading “12+ Things You Should Know About Planning a Memorial Service”

What To Know About Choosing a Cemetery

Recently, I arranged a funeral for the husband of a woman named Arlene. The couple did not have cemetery property. Nor had they discussed where they wanted to be buried. They were, in other words, like too many others who haven’t thought about the important decision of a final resting place. Arlene’s husband, Dan, wasContinue reading “What To Know About Choosing a Cemetery”

Keep the Conversation Going Q & A with Salvatore Stratis and Jeffrey Gaines of Abigal Inc.

It was informative, and fun, to sit down with Sal & Jeff from Abigal Press for an interview about the printing company that has done exemplary work for funeral homes since 1936. The friends, and business partners had a lot to say about the work they’ve done, their unique view of history, and what theyContinue reading “Keep the Conversation Going Q & A with Salvatore Stratis and Jeffrey Gaines of Abigal Inc.”

Yet Another Trying Day at Pinelawn Memorial Park

In the past, I’ve written about the horrific conditions I, and my family, were subjected to at the funeral (if you can call it that) of my mother in 2015. Again at the funerals of my uncle in 2017, and my aunt in 2019, we were treated badly. Having experienced such callous treatment by aContinue reading “Yet Another Trying Day at Pinelawn Memorial Park”

Post Pandemic Funeral Service – Can We Find Some Normalcy?

As the winter of 2020 turned to spring, the death toll from Covid-19 seemed insurmountable. For funeral directors, it was the darkest and most challenging time we’ve ever faced. In an industry built on personal contact and a deep sense of tradition, we could count on neither. “The idea of not being able to doContinue reading “Post Pandemic Funeral Service – Can We Find Some Normalcy?”

I Want to Watch

An essential component of our role as funeral directors is to maintain the sanctity of our work and protect the privacy of those in our care. Something that continues to trouble me is the prurient interest some have in the most private part of funeral service. “I want to watch. Can I?”  It is anContinue reading “I Want to Watch”

R.I.P. Regis Philbin

Years back,  I was a guest on Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee. It was a lot of fun and, a few months later, Regis invited me to be on his cable show to talk about funeral pre-planning. His beautiful wife Joy was the co-host, and together we planned a pretend funeral for Regis. WhileContinue reading “R.I.P. Regis Philbin”

Unsung Heroes

In July’s issue, American Funeral Director pays tribute to COVID-19 heroes.When I was asked to contribute, I thought of the countless funeral directors who fit that description (and how it would take untold issues to mention them all). I decided to profile Tom Boland (many funeral directors in NY know him), who not only wentContinue reading “Unsung Heroes”

Home Funerals

Today I participated in my second home funeral. The visitation was held in a magnificent estate in Greenwich, Connecticut and, as we were getting things ready, a colleague remarked that the setting was grander than most funeral homes. The room where the deceased reposed was bedecked with beautiful flowers, and family photographs. In the entranceContinue reading “Home Funerals”

God Winks

As deaths from the pandemic have, mercifully, subsided, cemeteries have relaxed a number of their restrictions. One that has yet to do so was the cemetery I was at this morning. The gates are still locked, and to enter one must be a funeral director there to facilitate an interment. No visitors are allowed. AsContinue reading “God Winks”

In a Book

I’ve been mentioned in newspapers, magazines, and even on television (as a Jeopardy question), but it is quite a kick to be mentioned in mystery writer Thomas O’Callaghan‘s new novel NO ONE WILL HEAR YOUR SCREAMS. I’m truly flattered. Best of luck with the new book! NO ONE WILL HEAR YOUR SCREAMS  

The Art of Giving a Eulogy – Share the Best Stories and Get Personal About It

Over my long career as a funeral director I’ve heard more than my fair share of eulogies. In a sense, eulogies are like taking a scenic drive through a life. There are times the view seems so familiar, and other times when one may be struck by the beauty in front of them; beauty thatContinue reading “The Art of Giving a Eulogy – Share the Best Stories and Get Personal About It”