A “Contemporary” Funeral Home

We’ve noticed, recently, several funeral homes billing themselves as “modern” or “contemporary.” They claim to have a new way of doing things; that they are bringing a new awareness to death and making it less sad. Really!? Light and airy reposing rooms will not change the abject sorrow felt by a family whose daughter has…

A Dying Business

One upon a time, a young woman walked into a funeral home in Queens, New York. She needed an after-school job to earn some money, while she worked her way through college, and the funeral home was hiring. She had dreams of one day becoming a great writer. Well, if not a great one, at…

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 an…

RIP Dr. Jacquie Taylor

We were saddened to learn about the recent passing of Dr. Jacquie Taylor. Funeral service lost an excellent champion in her. An educator, who was also licensed as a funeral director, Dr. Taylor  truly “walked the walk and talked the talk” unlike so many others today. In 2013, I attended a continuing education seminar Dr….

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

By Melissa Johnson Williams Those of us who witnessed the events 56 years ago of President Kennedy’s assassination, remember it vividly. He was so much more than just our President. He was of course a husband, father, son, brother, and friend to many. He was a decorated war hero and an inspiration to generations of…

Extreme Embalming

By Melissa Johnson Williams There was a picture that circulated on the internet recently showing a young man posed at his wake in a laid back style.  Many commentators used the phrase “extreme embalming” to describe this supposedly new phenomenon. Most of those commentators know nothing about embalming or its history. If they did they…

Women In Funeral Service, Circa 1900

By Melissa Johnson Williams These pages are from the funeral service publications of the early 1900’s called The Casket and The Sunnyside.  As can be seen in these photos women are prominent in the care of the dead, specifically teaching embalming.  More than 100 years ago these women lead the way for every woman practitioner…

Funeral Customs

By Melissa Johnson Williams While browsing for other books about funerals, I happened upon this. I love the description of it from Amazon. All reviewers give it 5 stars. “A funeral is a ceremony marking a person’s death. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead,…

Chicago Cubs Great Andre Dawson – His Quiet 2nd Career

By Melissa Johnson Williams I don’t think I would have ever thought that Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson would have been counted as one of the ranks of my profession. For more than ten years he has quietly owned a funeral home in Florida. No flashy publicity or news stories to get more business. Nothing…