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.”

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”

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”

Fashion To Die For: How To Choose Your Last Outfit or Burial Gown

Have you ever uttered the words, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that outfit!?” Well, you just might be – literally speaking – if you leave it to your family to decide what you’ll wear when the time comes for you to make your final public appearance. Now is the time to consider your finalContinue reading “Fashion To Die For: How To Choose Your Last Outfit or Burial Gown”

Fake Funeral News

The funeral as we know it is becoming a relic –just in time for a death boom blared the Washington Post headline. Whoever wrote this garbage must have scoured the depths of kook-dom. This article bears no resemblance to what funeral directors do on a daily basis. Perhaps if newspapers interviewed actual, experienced funeral directorsContinue reading “Fake Funeral News”

What It’s Like to Work as a Funeral Director

“What’s it like to work as a funeral director?” This is a question I’ve been asked time and again. My response: It’s not easy, given the complex emotions involved. It takes enormous commitment and dedication, along with a compassionate nature and respect for tradition and ceremony. Funeral directors deal with issues of mortality – ourContinue reading “What It’s Like to Work as a Funeral Director”

The Saturday Evening Post Article

The article I wrote about the importance of keeping the funeral tradition alive is in the current issue of the Saturday Evening Post. It’s an honor to be able to make the argument in such a venerable publication. Here’s a link to read it online: Let’s Keep the Funeral Alive