Latest Event Updates

Funeral Directors Provide Helping Hand during Holidays

Posted on

pexels-photoThe holidays! It’s already that time of year. The days are getting shorter, fall wardrobes are back in style, pumpkin spice lattes are here again, and stores are filling up fast with holiday décor.

Aside from the commercialism, the holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends and to reflect on all we are fortunate to have in this life.

While the holidays are the most joyous days of the year, they can also be the most painful, especially for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Funeral directors understand this best.

We’ve compiled a list of ways funeral directors can bring life to their communities during the holiday season, and we’re highlighting a few OGR member firms who are doing it well. Remember, it’s never too early to start planning. Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Etiquette: Taking Photographs at Funerals

Posted on Updated on

should-you-take-photographs-at-a-funeral-add-headingEarlier this year, we wrote about families hiring a professional photographer to take photos at their loved one’s funeral and the ways it might benefit families in mourning. Families have control over a professional’s work and distribution of the images; however, they often lack that control when non-professionals, even those with good intentions, take photos at funerals. Sharing funeral photos can cause distress for the deceased’s loved ones, particularly when they post images on sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The news is frequently filled with people coming under fire for taking casket selfies. Just last week, the daughter of rap music star Shawty Lo publicly criticized fans for posting images of her father in his casket on social media sites after they were asked not to take photos.

The issue of photography at funerals isn’t likely to fade away. How is your funeral home responding? Does your funeral home have a policy on photography?  Are you steering the families you serve in the right direction and communicating best practices?  Read the rest of this entry »

Silence the Stigma: Coping With Suicide

Posted on Updated on

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Death from suicide provides a unique set of complications for the affected family, their friends, and the funeral service professionals who serve them. Offering comfort to the bereaved also becomes a bit more difficult. What should a friend or funeral director say? Is there anything to avoid mentioning? If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, how should you respond?

Here are some tips for coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide and comforting the family of a suicide victim. Read the rest of this entry »

Suicide – A Funeral Director Speaks Out

Posted on Updated on


As a funeral director for over 30 years, I have been fortunate to help thousands of families through one of the darkest times in their lives. With September being National Suicide Prevention Month, I wanted to share a personal story with you on how suicide has touched the lives of my family.

It was a beautiful evening and I was sitting at the top of the Marriott Marquis in New York City at a cocktail party when my phone started to ring. It was my mother informing me my stepbrother had taken his life. In that moment, I knew I would have to put on a brave face since I was in a very public place. I equated it to the way President Bush must have felt when he was sitting in a classroom full of children when he was informed about 9/11. It was truly one of those heart-stopping moments. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Your Funeral Home Should Have an HR Strategy

Posted on Updated on


Dealing with human resource problems are frustrating and challenging for all involved… including myself!  At the Foresight Companies, I am frequently asked to provide advice on dealing with employee issues in funeral businesses.  At some point in our conversation, I ask the funeral service professional, “What’s your HR Strategy?”  Most frequently they answer “Strategy?  What strategy?” Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering the Work of Funeral Directors on 15th Anniversary of 9/11

Posted on


Close to fifteen years ago, millions of people watched the horror unfold on their television screens on the morning of September 11, 2001 when four airplanes were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists and subsequently crashed in DC, New York, and Pennsylvania. We were overcome with shock and dismay for the victims, the people in those areas, the families and loved ones of those who would perish that day, and for our country.

The events of that tragic day serve as a reminder of the dangers of the world but also highlight the goodness of hundreds of ordinary citizens who, along with first responders, took heroic actions to save innocent lives. All of them deserve to be remembered and admired for their work.

Funeral directors played an important role during this difficult time. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Things I’ve Learned from Working with Funeral Directors

Posted on

9-1 10 Things Funeral Service Smith
Here’s a typical conversation that I have when I’m out with friends, meeting new people.

“What do you do?” asks someone who doesn’t really care but feels obligated to engage me in conversation.

“I work for a trade association that works with independently owned funeral homes. I’m a meeting planner.” I respond to cut to the chase.

“Oh! So you plan funerals? Do you embalm bodies?” returns the individual who now has a stronger interest in hearing what I have to say and obviously wasn’t listening.

“No. But I know quite a few people who do. Why? Do you need a discount on an urn?”

The asker typically turns pale and isn’t sure where to go from there.

So goes many a conversation at cocktail parties and other events when I have the opportunity to interact with anyone who doesn’t work in funeral service. It’s made me stop and think about what funeral directors face when they share their story with others.

Since I joined OGR’s staff four years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit about funeral service professionals and have found that they have a pretty challenging job. They work long, irregular hours around strange smells, extreme emotions, and lots of paperwork. They respond to phone calls in the middle of the night, often miss holidays with their families, and care for dead bodies. They maintain composure and professionalism in the midst of family conflict, inclement weather, and national tragedies. A lot of what they do is behind the scenes, unseen and unheard.  Read the rest of this entry »