Funeral Sector Sees Changes: Industry Responds To New Challenges, Demands –

My friend Bill Booker, President of the Roller Funeral Homes, has some outstanding quotes in the blockbuster Arkansas Business story on the funeral industry. You can read it at the link, and I have a few comments as well.

Funeral Sector Sees Changes: Industry Responds To New Challenges, Demands –

First of all, a funeral is a sad occasion. When I check out (in 30 years or so, God willing) you people damn well better be SAD. Damn it all, I am expecting a few tears. May I add that there is a proper dress code for the wake (what the hell is a “visitation” anyway? That sounds like something you might get from the Archangel Gabriel.) and the funeral proper. Gentlemen should wear dark colored SUITS, muted neckties, and shined shoes. Ladies should also dress in dark colors and observe proper decorum.

Back in the day, there was a lot of humor and laughing at the WAKE. In some jurisdictions, alcohol is served at funeral homes. don’t worry, Bill, you’re off the hook on this one. I am sure the very thought of setting up a bar adjacent to the viewing rooms (Parlors, thank you) would probably start World War Three.

At my final tribute, the hard drinking will be conducted off premises. There used to be a practice in the Boston area (or so I am told) that people would sometimes sprinkle the dearly departed with a little whiskey as they passed the remains at the wake. Seems like a waste.

Let’s get down to the funeral It is a RELIGIOUS service. The body is symbolically handed over to the church, the community of Christian believers, for a proper burial. It is my understanding that the church where I attend, St. Andrews Anglican Church on Kanis Road in Little Rock, does not allow lay people to deliver eulogies during the funeral service. This is a sensible practice since you never know what some bonehead might say in the house of God.

There might be secular eulogies at the wake or reception immediately after the religious service. Either is appropriate. That is also the correct place for videos and secular music.

Another thing. Flowers are always appropriate. Who the hell came up with this totally stupid idea of giving money to charity. When I go away (in 30 years or so, God willing) I want you people to send so many flowers that people will be fainting in the funeral home from the smell and allergies.

A religious funeral has certain rigid rules and I find that to be enormously comforting and it fills me with an incredible sense of warmth. It is much more serene than the thought of a couple of dozen ex-radio folks getting blasted and cursing each other out. (Actually, I think that is just fine, only not at a religious service). I think secular music might add a sweet touch at the graveside. How about a little Celtic tune? Hell, nobody knows “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”

Somewhere on the web, there is a sweet and absolutely touching video of an Irish funeral where people are singing at the graveside. I would be PROUD to have friends with that kind of heart. I will try to find the link. I think it is for Liam Clancy from County Cork.

I have told you my opinion. Everybody doesn’t have to do it this way, but this would be a better place if they did. The world needs people like me.


About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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