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10 Distinct Qualities that Make Funeral Directors Extraordinary (Shared In Honor of National Funeral Director’s Day)

Mar 09, 2018

"Whereas these special men and women see their chosen profession as a higher calling, a sacred trust, in serving every family regardless of social standing, financial means, or time of day or day of the year, whenever a death occurs; and whereas March 11 would be an appropriate day to designate as National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day to pay tribute to these funeral directors and morticians who, day in and day out, assist our Nation's families in their times of sadness and grief and help families mourn a death and celebrate a life." - H. RES. 892, passed by the 110th Congress of the United States.

On March 11, 2008, the 110th Congress of the United States passed a resolution designating March 11 as National Funeral Director and Morticians Recognition Day. This is a day to acknowledge the important work of funeral professionals and express support. Many people outside of the profession are unaware of the different characteristics and personality traits one must possess in order to be a funeral director.

In honor of National Funeral Directors and Mortician’s Recognition Day, here are 10 distinct qualities that make funeral directors extraordinary

1. Empathy

Taking on the pain and sadness of another human being is not something most people are capable of doing. It takes a remarkable sort of person to willingly walk into the eye of a hurricane and withstand the battering waves of another person’s grief. Funeral professionals give the bereaved something to hold on to in the midst of that dark and unrelenting storm.

2. Reverence

Funeral directors believe ardently in the significance of the work they do. While different faiths may observe different customs, the importance of treating every deceased person with dignity and giving them a respectful final disposition is central to the work of all funeral professionals. These convictions inform every action directors take and demonstrate the cultural value they offer to society.

3. Dedication

It’s not just the unpredictable schedule or the willingness to do physical labor at 3am that separates a funeral director from others – it’s the emotional availability and attentiveness. Show us another profession where a person is willing to wake from a deep sleep, night after night, in order to provide empathy and reassurance to those grieving.

4. Emotional Fortitude

There isn’t a word that completely describes what a funeral director must be, because there is no other vocation or job that requires such self-sacrifice. To be both calm and collected in the face of sorrow, yet compassionate and empathetic towards those grieving is like walking on an emotional tightrope. Funeral professionals must always be in touch with their feelings without ever letting them overpower their composure.

5. Service-Hearted

Profits. Awards. Promotions. Titles. Wealth. Praise.

For many, these aspirations are what drive their career. For funeral directors, there is one motivation that supersedes all – a calling to help those in need. The passion that funeral professionals have for bringing comfort to those who are hurting is greater than any other measurement of success.

6. Altruism

The philanthropic efforts of funeral directors have helped countless people to rebuild their lives after a tragedy. These acts of goodwill rarely get the recognition they deserve, so we at ASD wanted to shine a spotlight on a few of the many selfless funeral professionals out there that have gone above and beyond to help others.

Crowder Funeral Home Provides Shelter to More Than 100 Victims After Hurricane Harvey

Springfield Memorial Gardens Funeral Home Donates Services To Family After 4 Children Killed in Fire

Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home Collects 179lbs Of Food For Families In Need

15 Veterans Escorted To Final Resting Place By Sutton Funeral Home Directors

Graham, Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlors Peter Stefan: The Funeral Home That Buries the Bodies Nobody Else Will Touch

John Vincent Scalia Home For Funerals Provides Housing and Relief To Hurricane Sandy Victims

Traunero Funeral Home Director Uses Pilot’s License To Help Cancer Patients and Animals In Need

What do these stories all have in common? The answer is simple – when someone is hurting, you don’t have to look far to find a funeral director stepping in to help.

7. Reliability

Unlike other professions, funeral directors can’t simply put an auto-responder on their email and check out for a few days. The constant, 24/7 demands of the funeral home require morticians to have a strong work ethic and an enduring commitment to families in their community. There are a lot of things in life that can be mechanized, but a personal connection is not one of them.

8. Humility

Being continually misunderstood by the public and misrepresented by the media doesn’t stop funeral professional from doing praise-worthy work every day. It is not pride or recognition that motivates funeral directors, but rather a feeling of personal fulfillment after helping someone in need. It is this important quality that keeps funeral directors grounded and able to easily relate to others.

9. Courage

While others run away from horrific events and tragedies, funeral directors bravely face what many cannot. From those tasked with identifying remains at 9/11 to those who volunteered to come to Sandy Hook to assist with burials, these courageous souls are often haunted by what they face but that doesn’t stop them from stepping in to help.

10. Exuberance

There are countless incorrect and off-base stereotypes out there about funeral directors that have been reinforced by misrepresentations in movies and television. One of the worst offenders is the characterization of morticians as creepy, morose, or gothic. This depiction could not be further from the truth. If you’re trying to find a funeral director in a crowd, don’t start looking in the shadows. The reality is, most funeral professionals have very animated and spirited personalities. Their unpredictable schedule usually has insanely long hours, so when they are outside of funeral home they are likely to be having fun, laughing and living it up.


Which one of these qualities do you think is the most crucial for funeral directors to possess? Are there any important character traits we left off our list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


About The Author

Jess Fowler

Jess Fowler is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD's company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at

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