Carolyn Jones (aka Morticia Addams)

By Melissa Johnson Williams Thirty-five years ago today Morticia Addams died. The woman we knew and loved as Morticia was of course Carolyn Jones.  A very talented actress who performed in both movies and television. She crossed several movie genres but even the younger generation knows "Morticia". She was the original and favorite goth beauty. … Continue reading Carolyn Jones (aka Morticia Addams)

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 … Continue reading Extreme Embalming

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 … Continue reading Women In Funeral Service, Circa 1900

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, … Continue reading Funeral Customs

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 … Continue reading Chicago Cubs Great Andre Dawson – His Quiet 2nd Career

What Is Death Positivity?

By Melissa Johnson Williams We hear so much today about a “movement” called Death Positivity. As a funeral director, I couldn’t tell someone what that means. Once we are born, we all move toward death. It’s just a matter of when and how. It’s also a concept that some people have a hard time wrapping … Continue reading What Is Death Positivity?

Honoring Memorial Day

By Melissa Johnson Williams During the early days of the Civil War, it became apparent that there was a need to identify and develop space for cemeteries to honor those who fought for their country and gave the ultimate sacrifice. On July 17, 1862 Congress authorized the President to purchase cemetery grounds “for soldiers who … Continue reading Honoring Memorial Day

The Gratification of Visiting Graves

  In 2004, I traveled to Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery to do research for an article I was working on about the place. My trip there was also a pilgrimage of sorts, as the first monument I wanted to see was that of Gone With The Wind author, Margaret Mitchell. As a teen, I had read … Continue reading The Gratification of Visiting Graves

When My Yiayia Died

  Marjorie Kunch is a funeral director, and writer, based in Arizona. When her grandmother died, Kunch, the mother of two young children, searched for books to answer the questions her two young children had about funeral rituals. Not able to find what she was looking for, Kunch decided to write her own book. Written … Continue reading When My Yiayia Died

The “Creep Factor”

In addition to this site, Melissa and I host a Facebook page for The Morte Girls. This group was created as a place for serious funeral directors to come together to discuss issues with colleagues. We invited some of the best licensed funeral directors we knew, intentionally keeping the group small and manageable to avoid … Continue reading The “Creep Factor”