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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

RIP Robert Morgenthau

Attended the funeral service for Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau at Temple Emanu-El today. New York City’s longest serving District Attorney would have turned 100 on July 31st.  He is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  

RIP Queens DA Richard Brown

Inside The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, it was SRO as hundreds of people, including elected officials, judges, prosecutors, court staff, and New Yorkers, attended the funeral service for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. In his lengthy career, the highly respected district attorney successfully prosecuted many cases. The last one was the Karina VetranoContinue reading “RIP Queens DA Richard Brown”

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

Pinelawn Memorial Park: My Mother’s Death Without Dignity

My mother died two years ago.  While we had been estranged for many years, it saddened me to hear that her health had deteriorated, and that she had become a shell of the formidable person she once was. I found out about her death through my beloved uncle, her brother, and it was after the fact.Continue reading “Pinelawn Memorial Park: My Mother’s Death Without Dignity”

A Funeral for the Ages

I was honored and humbled to be among the thousands of mourners inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral this morning for the funeral Mass of Det. Steven McDonald. The police office, who was paralyzed in a 1986 shooting became a symbol of forgiveness and compassion, inspiring so many. There was not an empty seat in St. Pat’s,Continue reading “A Funeral for the Ages”