Modern Funeral Memorial Services
By Michael D Johnson, Sr.
A so called full service funeral today may follow the
same sequence, but past assumptions
are no longer valid:
1. Embalming was automatic. Bodies are no longer
embalmed automatically. There is an extra charge if they
2. Obituaries detailing the deceased's life, survivors,
etc., were given to newspapers as news items. Obituaries
are not automatic and do not usually tell the deceased's
life history, nor is there a post-funeral announcement
describing the service, pallbearers, and out-of-town
attendees. In large urban centers, obituaries/funeral
service programs can be very expensive.
3. Burial was the choice of final disposition, as
cremation was only available in large cities and
transportation to a crematorium was difficult and
expensive. Burial is no longer the only or major means
of final disposition, and in many areas, cremation is
now the method of choice. Cremation eliminates many of
the requirements of the traditional funeral. It does not
require a casket, only a container. A grave or monument
does not need to be purchased, and a graveside service
or transportation of the body and funeral cortege to a
cemetery is not required.
4. Funeral services were held for every death even if
only the funeral director and clergy were in attendance.
Immediate disposition by direct cremation or burial is
becoming more common for various reasons. It eliminates
cost of all services and goods necessary in a
traditional funeral. In modern society, people are
living longer, and families are not as close or as
involved as in the past.
5. Funerals were normally held in churches and later in
funeral chapels. The family, without the assistance of a
funeral director, may hold a public or private funeral
service in any appropriate location.
6. Every funeral demanded the use of a casket for the
body. Many funerals are held today without the body
being present. Public viewing is no longer necessary or
expected. As a result, a casket and the preparation of
the body, including embalming, cosmetics, and dressing,
may not be necessary. If viewing is requested, a casket
may be rented. One of the main purposes of this book is
to allow you to personally design the type of
commemorative service you would prefer.
You may make personal choices from a variety of options:
o Religious or nonreligious
o Public or family only, viewing or no viewing
o Location of the service
o Details concerning flowers, music, the order of
service, and even
after the post-funeral gathering
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