Newsworthy vs New Nonsense

man reading newspaper
Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Newsworthy Articles

‘Whatever it takes’: Why one man feels a calling to give free funerals to homicide victims Louisville Courier Journal, August 15, 2022

Alice Theresa Baysmore-Manns was the epitome of what a funeral director should be.

A Funeral Home Director’s Long Commitment to Her Community The New Yorker, March 1, 2022

There is no doubt that for funeral director, Anthony Oxendine, funeral service is a true calling.

You will never regret going to the funeral American Magazine, January 14, 2022

An on point article about the importance of attending funerals. A line from the piece echoes Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s teaching: “Ritual is what humans do to help each other navigate through life’s ambiguities,” Bruce Morrill, S.J., the Edward A. Malloy Chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Vanderbilt University, tells me.

I’m the daughter of a funeral director. Here’s what being surrounded by death taught me about life, Insider, November 7, 2021

Written with keen insight and maturity, this young woman has done an excellent job of expressing what she has learned.

The burden of death care workers, New York Daily News, July 18, 2021

The Morte Girls like when our colleagues who have truly walked the walk, and talked the talk, are tapped for commentary.

Woman has her homemade fudge recipe printed on her grave, May 29, 2021

We love this! That’s what it’s all about: commemorating and remembering.

Opinion: I miss real funerals, March 7, 2021

Death Without Ceremony The Atlantic, June 2020

The long, lonesome shift of a crematory worker in the heat of COVID-19 NBC News, April 19, 2020

Funeral directors, cemetery/crematory workers, livery drivers, and allied fields are contending with the unimaginable, and most are handling it with humanity and compassion.

‘Surreal’: NY funeral homes struggle as virus deaths surge,  AP News, April 2, 2020

An unflinching look at funeral service in this dark time of COVID-19.

Coronavirus News: NYC funeral homes, cemeteries overwhelmed by COVID-19 pandemic ABC News, April 10, 2020

Doris’ funeral home  was the subject of a number of news reports at the height of COVID-19.

19th-century funeral rolls down Brooklyn streets  Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 10, 2020

We’ve witnessed the Guido Funeral Home’s horse-drawn hearse as part of a funeral procession, and can attest to its majesty.

A funeral home gave a free service to a veteran with no family. More than 1,000 people came CNN, October 1, 2019

Funeral directors doing good deeds and giving back. We salute you, Michael Hoyt.

The Death Industry Is Getting Away With Murder Washingtonian Monthly, July 23, 2019

The Absence of Your Funeral Kern Valley Sun, June 25, 2019

Such a sad and stark contrast between the final arrangements for two great ladies.

Ruth Loper, 94, of Ballard’s Loper Funeral Chapel, reflects on nearly five decades of service Central Coast News, March 5, 2019

In a day and age when some young women in funeral service pattern themselves after kooks, here’s a real role model.

When my brother-in-law died, we skipped the funeral parlor and took him home   The Washington Post, March 24, 2019

Several months ago, I participated in a home funeral. It was my first, and it all worked beautifully. Any funeral director will tell you that they would be glad to accommodate a family in this way, if possible. One does not need a specialized funeral home, as suggested by the article. What isn’t being said, however, is that few families express an interest in such a service, and even fewer follow through.

To the Very Last Person to Ever Touch My Daughter on Earth September 26, 2018

In one of the most touching articles we’ve ever read, a mother pens a heartfelt thank you to the funeral director who handled the funeral of her 11-year-old daughter.

What Does Going Green mean for the Funeral Industry? Forbes, August 10, 2018

Let Funerals Be Sad  The Guardian, July 21, 2018

The author of this article, Colin Brazier, a recent widower, makes many salient points about loss, grieving and the role of the funeral. He emailed friends and family, reminding them that they would be attending a funeral, not a party, and requesting that in dress and demeanor they respect the occasion. “It’s unfair on children to insist that a funeral should mean rejoicing in a life now passed. Maybe grown-ups can handle the cognitive dissonance required in ‘celebrating’ a life rather than, you know, being all morbid. But I seriously doubt children can,” he wrote incisively. His statement that “wearing black gives people licence to be lachrymose,” is a powerful one. There was a time that those in mourning were recognizable by their mode of dress, and treated kindly, gently and with understanding. These days, those in mourning are rarely recognized. Mr. Brazier has written the best piece in eons on the subject of funerals. Unlike the inane articles we’re being fed lately by the media, written by those who death has yet not touched, Brazier wrote with heart, emotion, and from a perspective of deep and painful loss.

Top Mortician School Cheating Scandal… New York Post, March 10, 2018

For the record, we are graduates of American Academy-McAllister Institute, and the black eye on the school’s reputation saddens me. We have only met Meg Dunn once or twice in passing, but we do know a number of the students whose licenses are in jeopardy. Unfortunately, they were afraid to be quoted in this article for fear of retribution. Their choices going forward are minimal: retake the National Boards in June, or get an extension until December, if  willing to sign certain rights away.  Our hope is that this situation gets resolved ASAP so that these students can regain their peace of mind, and work in their chosen field without this cloud of uncertainty hanging over their heads.

Families Report Bodies of Loved Ones Not at Funeral Home for Services Eyewitness News. March 5, 2018

Funeral Home that Doubled as Body Parts Broker Forced to Shut Down, Fox News, Feb. 16, 2018

The Death of the Funeral Business, Philadelphia Magazine, November 22, 2013

Good Grief. Is there a better way to be bereaved? The New Yorker, February 1, 2010

New Nonsense

More women joining death care business Spectrum News, April 17, 2023

We can always count on the NYSFDA’s Weekly Clips to give us a good laugh. Now, don’t get us wrong: we’re pleased by the increase in women working in funeral service these days. After all, we helped pave the way. But couching it as news, and citing stats from 2017, is coming late to the party. When are writers going to stop with the tokenism and see female funeral directors as a given?

Abraham Lincoln’s other legacy: An obsession with open caskets and America’s lifeless death industry GRID, December 28, 2022

“Urban cemeteries take up acres of valuable space and act as receptacles for massive deposits of waste: bodies embalmed with toxic formaldehyde, encased in caskets made from hard-to-log hardwoods and steel vaults,” state this crass and judgmental article. Tell that to the grieving people who get enormous comfort from visiting the graves of those they loved.

‘Funeral Babe’ mortician explains what happens to us when we die New York Post, September 1, 2022

Upon reading this — along with some of the stinging comments –we had conflicting feelings. On the one hand, the story was so silly that we laughed.  Still, we felt sorry for the woman who was cast in such a poor light and evidently used by the reporter for  ‘shock value’ on what was obviously a slow news day.

Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric Trump ‘disgrace’ themselves with mom’s ‘sad’ golf course grave, expert says, August 2, 2022

We don’t know where to begin with our criticism of this absurd article. If anyone but a Trump had chosen to be buried on a golf course, it would be hailed as “trendy” and “innovative.”

Hair stylist finds passion for mortuary makeup Wareham Week, June 21, 2022

This article came to our attention courtesy (more like discourteously) of the  NYSFDA, by way of their weekly eClips. Of late, the NYSFDA has highlighted stories that we believe are  not in the best interest of funeral directors.  This is a glaring example. The very idea that a hair stylist has “embarked on a new venture: hair and makeup for funerals”  diminishes all licensed funeral directors by giving the impression that the work we do takes no education, training, or funeral service experience. Why the organization would choose to send this story to members is questionable.

Sky Burials: The Funerary Practice Where Bodies Are Carried Up Mountains To Feed The Birds iflscience, May 17, 2022

In grammar school, I studied Greek mythology. One of the myths that most distressed the class was about the punishment meted out to Prometheus, a god of fire,  by Zeus. Prometheus was chained to a rock on a mountain, and each day an eagle came and ate a piece of his liver.  Reading this brought that lesson immediately back to mind — and not in a good way. But the most amusing line in this article, which contains no byline and is undated, is this:  “Eco-friendly ways of laying the dead to rest are growing increasingly popular.”

Body composting takes root in US ‘green’ burial trend, March 15, 2022

When we read such factually inaccurate articles, we can’t help but wonder where they’re getting their information. One line states that “Return Home body composting is priced at $5,000, on par with cremation.” Cremation $5,000??? Seriously!? Another sentence reads: “Thousands of Americans choose “green” burial…” Unless they are factoring in Jewish burials (which generally meet that definition), we have to ask “In what world?” For reporters, it appears that the bar for calling a particular activity a trend, gets lower and lower.

How a Brooklyn funeral home is trying to put a modern spin on death Marketing Brew, January 19, 2022

Funeral directors, if you want a good laugh read this article. Yet another critical piece about how we’ve been doing it all wrong as an industry, but fear not: the “staff” of this startup (an inexperienced licensed director and an unlicensed person with no background in funeral service) is here to school us —and modernize death. The article is also riddled with inaccuracies. It claims that the funeral home “sells something a bit more unusual—urns for the remains of deceased loved ones.” Why hasn’t any other funeral home thought to do that!? We say that with the utmost sarcasm. Then there’s this line, “…the casket industry isn’t as popular as it once was—fewer people than ever want to be put in the ground.” As we know, caskets aren’t just for burials. Still, with a mere seven funerals to their credit, in the three months they’ve been open, their boast about going national is truly hilarious. Then, there’s the offensive video they put out upon opening. If their goal was to get people talking, they achieved it —in the most negative way possible.

Funeral director reveals secrets of the trade, from embalming bodies to labelling ashes, Metro News, November 27, 2021

The copy reads: “After leaving her most recent role due to a falling-out with her boss, the mum decided to share some trade secrets, demystifying the often-taboo topic of death.” Demystify? More like embarrass not only her former boss, but funeral directors everywhere with her responses to some very base questions. What’s most offensive is that the NYSFDA thought to include such trash it in their Weekly Clips.

Dying to be green: Are mushroom coffins the secret to an eco-friendly death? CNN, November 17, 2021

Such stories are a hoot!

Female funeral director breaks down barriers, November 23, 2020

Please stop with these misleading headlines! While we applaud Ms. Weaver for her success as a funeral home owner,  she had not broken any barriers as a female in funeral service. They were broken a long time ago.

Boom Time for Death Planning The New York Times, July 16, 2020

Just when you think The New York Time’s coverage of funeral service cannot get any more inane, there’s this. Talk about fake news. To reiterate, death planning (as the paper starkly puts it-we call it a prearrangement) is what one does with the guidance of a licensed funeral director.

It may come as a surprise but many women finding careers in funeral industry  Naperille Sun, February 28, 2020

Why in the world would it come as a surprise at this late date? Just asking.

The iPhone at the Deathbed The New York Times, February 18, 2020

Apparently, it was kook round-up day at The New York Times when this was slapped together. Yes, families do take photographs of the deceased, most times in a funeral home setting. But, the graphic photos are usually the purview of Medical Examiners.

Portland startup hopes to change funeral industry KGW8, April 29, 2019

Two former creative directors for Nike hope to “disrupt” the funeral industry (good luck with that) with their new website. Keith Crawford, one of the partners, came up with the idea after the death of his father because he said his  “experience with that whole process of his funeral was less than great.” Gee, our experiences with Nike have always been less, less than great, too. Maybe we should start a new company. In any case, the article says that the company operates “mostly through their website.” They also “live phone conversations or online chats with families.” Sounds really comforting (Not!).

Female morticians are on the rise in the U.S. The Louisiana Weekly, February 4, 2019

Dare I say, here we go again…. Why not just make a template of this article and pass it to every journalist in the country. What would be way more interesting is if writers understood that while women might outnumber men in mortuary schools, that does not necessarily translate into actual employment.

Mortuary Makeup Artists Give Us Their Best Beauty Tips Nylon, January 30, 2019

More fluff. “Mortuary makeup artists,” lol. Those who apply cosmetics to the deceased are called funeral directors.

Women are changing the face of the funeral industry, January 5, 2019

The spate of articles professing that women are new, and a novelty, in funeral service has become tiresome. If you study the history of funeral service, you’ll find that female funeral directors haven’t been a novelty since, oh, about 1978.

Death becomes her: Women make inroads in funeral industry, Associated Press, November 27, 2018

Here we go again —-women as novelties in funeral service. For the umpteenth time, they are not. The AP line about persistent stereotypes includes “women not being strong enough to lift coffins (you mean caskets).” News flash: some are not strong enough. Nor are some men.

That male funeral directors don’t want to hire women is a “staggering issue that women face in this industry,” according to one of the young women interviewed. She added her qualms about the residency period “which is a long-term internship for a year to get your license…” An entire year’s commitment, imagine that!

Another of the interviewees believes that some customers are “still not comfortable” with women directors. She claims that one family “did not want any female funeral directors running their funeral.”  Highly doubtful that it was her gender. More likely it was because she was young and inexperienced. But she assures us that “those stigmas are changing.”

Millennials are taking over the mortuary business,  New York Post, October 31, 2018

It must have been a very slow news day when this was published.  What’s more, much of the content is unintentionally comic, and woefully inaccurate.  Ms. Bowser, who claims to have an “old soul” was inspired, in part, to become  a funeral director by “her love of classic horror movies, such as ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ “What better motivation to become  a funeral director!? (Not!) The article goes on to say that “unlike many of her peers, Bowser didn’t inherit her mortuary career from a parent.” With so many corporate takeovers of family-owed funeral homes in the past two decades, that’s rarely the case.

Ms. Henry, too, has questionable career motivation. She tells the reporter that her favorite toy growing up  was a “bobblehead doll of Hades,” the god of the underworld in Greek mythology. She also wants to —wait for it– “bring more transparency to the field, since it’s seen as taboo and morose.” Taboo? I don’t think so. Morose? Perhaps. “But it’s just another aspect of life that we all, as human beings, go through,” she continued. Only someone too young to feel their own mortality could make such a statement. Henry also wants to give educational seminars on preparing for a funeral (why haven’t the thousands of funeral directors before her ever thought of doing that !? Oh, they have!), and she wants “to help people who fear the inevitable.” In fact, she believes that “talking about death can help those who are scared feel more comfortable.” (Sure, that will work.) In fact, try that with someone who has just been given a life-threatening diagnosis, and see how receptive they are. She also wants to be on  TED Talks, podcasts and YouTube channels. You got it folks, she wants to be a social media celebrity, and sees funeral service as her vehicle.

The article ends with this gem: “Death isn’t all doom and gloom.”

The Positive Death Movement Comes to Life, The New York Times, June 22, 2018

“Death is having it’s moment in the sun,” proclaims this article, which reads as satire.  It begins with a group of people singing, eating, and decorating a casket with magic markers, as one woman gleefully exclaims, “I hope we have fun.”

Burial is becoming the most boring thing to do with your body,  Popular Science, May 30, 2018

One of the “deathcare startups,” profiled in this article wants to shoot your cremains into space (well, actually 15 miles above earth), at a starting price of $4,500. The other incorporates them into custom-made bullets. After a spate of school shootings, could there be anything more inappropriate!?

Beer Meets Bereavement: Brewery and Memorial Diamonds Lab to Share One Roof, Food & Wine, April 23, 2018

“Where else can you go and have a pint of fresh beer and watch machines make diamonds out of dead people?” asks the co-owner of LifeGem.

Where indeed!?

Funerals Are the Worst Way to Honor Those We Loved, Woman’s Day, July 15, 2017

The title alone of this judgmental piece is appalling. It derides each and every family that has chosen to honor their loved one in the time honored tradition that we know as a funeral.

“We’ve mastered weddings—but the funeral needs a lot of work”: Inside the new death industry, Quartz, April 4, 2017

“A typical funeral service today is remarkably similar to one from 50 years ago,” states this pointless article. And the reason is simple: it has served mourners well all these years. The article also says that a site called is “trying to demystify the process of finding a funeral home.” For generations, people have turned to their tried and true family funeral director. No mystery there. And once again, as is a commonality in these silly articles, those quoted are on the fringe, with little actual experience.

Traditional Funerals Are The Worst — Here’s What Millennials Are Doing Instead   Refinery29, November 1, 2016

This article is actually old nonsense, but was only recently brought to our attention. Apart from the headline which insults anyone and everyone who opts for a traditional funeral, this article is chock full of misinformation. Case in point: the writer’s perception that all caskets are “buried within steel vaults and reinforced concrete.” It may have  been helpful to interview someone other than the owner of a green burial ground (who, of course, is touting the benefit), and an inexperienced funeral director. Perhaps the most amusing line in the piece (and there were many) is this: “Indeed, many are finding that green burials provide a level of complex emotional satisfaction that traditional funeral services usually can’t. ” Say what!?

One response to “Newsworthy vs New Nonsense”

  1. Good assortment for those who like what they do and to see the other side weird or not. We all to agree and disagree. No longer is there a cookie cutter way of doing funerals.
    Keep posting these, some we will pass by, others articles will connect with us.

    Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: