Artisanal funeral markets in everything

With an increasing demand among baby boomers for customized funerals that reflect the individuality of the deceased, funeral directors are expanding into the business of event production. Today’s funeral director might stage a memorial service featuring the release of butterflies at the grave site, or with the deceased’s Harley parked ceremonially at the entrance to the chapel. In such instances, the skills of a funeral director can seem to fall somewhere between those of a nurse and a wedding planner. Mortuary Management, a trade magazine, offers articles about such innovations as the tribute blanket—an instant heirloom that incorporates photographs of the deceased into a custom-made tapestry—and urges funeral directors to be open-minded when faced with families who want pop songs played at a service. It’s a profitable strategy to, as a feeble witticism of the industry has it, “put the fun back into funerals.”

There is more from here from Rebecca Mead.  I liked this exchange too:

“Who is going to follow a funeral home’s Twitter account, really?” one participant asked.

“Weirdos,” someone replied.

“Competitors,” added another.

Interesting throughout, as they say.


Christian themed funerals today are much the same, with the Apostle Paul in the starring role. I'd prefer a little more of a Calvinist theme, with a few predictions about the recently deceased's destination. If the predictions aren't optimistic, the recently deceased may need that Harley, and a full tank of gas, to avoid eternal Hell fire.

Driving a Harley through hell? I'm sure a 1%-er Hell's Angel would agree that's a wise choice.

“put the fun back into funerals" - they do this already in the Philippines (Dying--it's more fun in the Philippines as a tourist slogan might say). Here the funeral homes have big parties for the deceased, though I don't think they play pop songs.

I must confess to telling my wife to play Smokin Joe Kubek's "Out of Body Out of Mind" at my funeral.

When do enviromaniacs begin boycotting crematoria for perceived contributions to Technogenic Climate Change?
Incineration entails energy expenditures not required by simple burial (surely, energy expenditures of the latter would be even lower if gravedigging remained a lucrative occupation for manual laborers: does the funeral industry NEED backhoe operators?).

Hah! I believe you to be mostly joking, but this question already had its day about ten years ago. Due to casket production & transportation and embalming fluids in traditional burials, cremation has been deemed to have the smaller carbon footprint. But the real action, I think, is in something like this:

Even if it never comes to pass, I'll at least have the name of my third speed metal album.

LOL, as seen on The Onion. From the site: "Katrina Spade, Founder and Director, "We are all future trees.Thank you for your support!""

And who gets to keep the valuable compost? Let's call a spade a Spade and say it will be Spade. Resell the compost to Home Depo? Man, can you imagine the dirty lawsuits that would follow? Especially if, perchance, a Native American was wrongly mixed into the compost pile, contaminating the entire pile.

Good for the families. Funeral directors are refusing to do what the families want? Absurd. Is celebrating a life really so ridiculous that anyone who wants to do that is a complete crackpot?

"Funeral directors are refusing to do what the families want?"

Why would they? They have state-level funeral commissions to keep the competition down.

It's worth noting that funeral services are regulated at the state-level (most?) by trade-restricting boards/commissions.

I took a photo years ago on I-70 of a hearse towing a small trailer with a Harley on it. Apparently, the deceased did take it (part way) with him.

Utter grossness.

I am reminded of my wife's uncle, who planned his memorial service while he died of cancer, about 20 years ago.

Very fond of opera, he hired six opera singers to sing various opera chestnuts at his memorial service (in the church). These were people active in the opera scene, but not stars. He knew most of them personally.

He had a wonderful sense of humor. It was over when the fat lady sang.

The funeral director was only involved in taking the body for cremation at his death and not involved in the memorial service at all (consistent with the practice in this church, where memorial services do not include caskets).

Weddings + funerals = events. Got it?

I am fine with a traditional service - the only thing I care about is that there be really good food at the reception. I want people to eat well and to have a good time.

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