10 Things We Love About Funeral Professionals
Feb 14, 2019
Happy Valentines Day! Here at ASD, we know that funeral service community is made up of some of the most loving and kind-hearted people one could ever meet. We feel honored to serve such an incredible profession. To show our appreciation and gratitude for one of the most dedicated groups of people you'll ever meet, we wanted to shine a spotlight on what makes funeral directors special.
Here are 10 Things We Love About Funeral Professionals
1. Funeral Directors continually put the needs of others above their own
Funeral directors do not simply work – they must live their profession. It is a vocation that requires one to sacrifice his or her's own personal and family time to remain available to the community 24/7. However, 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 the bereaved. Even when dealing with feelings of their own grief, funeral directors continually put the needs of others ahead of their own.
2. Funeral directors witness some of life’s harshest realities so that others don’t have to
Funeral directors fulfill an essential duty for humanity that most people are too afraid to even think about. Everyday, they see it all—from murders to infant deaths—and then come home to tuck in their own children. 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.
3. Funeral directors are not motivated by accolades
Despite the fact that they deserve recognition for devoting themselves to their profession 100 percent, most funeral professionals do not covet awards or accolades. Here at ASD, we often wonder why funeral directors aren't valued more in our culture. The lack of reverences for these dedicated men and women is truly unjust. However, 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.
4. Funeral Directors have strong values
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.
As a family-owned company, ASD’s owners are able to identify with the daily needs of funeral directors because they understand the specific rewards and challenges of running a family business. Blending familial values with business goals fosters an environment of shared collaboration, mutual respect and innovative thinking. We feel blessed to work with 45% of all independently-owned funeral homes in America. Like so many funeral directors, our owners grew up with the business and learned from an early age the importance of cooperation and teamwork. A long-term view of the future, commitment to quality, greater resilience, and better staff retention are just a few of the unique qualities family-owned businesses share.
5. Funeral Directors care deeply about the families they serve
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.
When ASD was established in 1972, we initially welcomed all types of businesses. However, it was not long before we recognized how much we enjoyed and preferred working with funeral professionals. Directors were much more responsive to their callers. It was this high level of care and compassion that made funeral homes the most rewarding business for us to serve.
According to ASD Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley, “No one else cared about the quality of the person answering the phone. They just wanted a name, number and didn't want to be bothered unless it was an absolute emergency but funeral directors were just nicer and wanted to be more available. They really cared about how we treated their callers. That's why our family decided to start working exclusively with funeral homes.”
ASD Family-Member Owner, Kathy Kelley, making a pledge on behalf of ASD to the Funeral Service Foundation at the 2017 NFDA Convention. ASD supports the Funeral Service Foundation in it's mission to help future funeral directors gain the tools, resources and education needed to make positive impacts in their communities. We understand how important it is to encourage the next generation of funeral directors.
6. Funeral Directors give back to others
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 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.
Here at ASD, we are continually inspired by stories like these. From donating their services, to presenting checks to local organizations, to holding free informational seminars—there are so many examples of funeral professionals helping others. When a national disaster occurs, funeral directors are often the first to step up and offer assistance. Just recently, members of Independent Jewish Funeral Chapels (JAVOD) stepped up to support funeral directors in Pittsburgh that were dealing with the aftermath of the tragic synagogue shooting. JAVOD members donated their time and resources to help the funeral directors there support the Jewish community. A month earlier, a funeral home down in North Carolina became a shelter location for those fleeing the floodwaters after Hurricane Florence. These are just the most recent examples of the altruism demonstrated by funeral professionals. Every day, we answer calls from people wanting to express their gratitude to a funeral director. We hear the appreciation in their voices. It is an honor to serve a profession that so generously serves and gives back.
7. Funeral Directors are fun to be around
Don't worry - we won't stoop to repeating the cliched joke directors hear constantly involving the first 3-letters of the word 'funeral.' But the fact the remains - funeral directors are some of the most fun and exuberant people one could ever hope to meet. 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.
Here ASD, we know firsthand that most funeral professionals have a wonderful sense of humor. Whether making our Call Specialist smile on the phone or cracking up our Sales department at a convention, directors know how to tell a great joke. In fact, one of the most common prank calls ASD receives is from funeral directors prank calling other funeral directors to report the passing of “Myra Mains” (aka “my remains”). Dealing with death on a constant basis is an important reminder that life is too short not to stop and appreciate the humor when you can.
8. Funeral Directors are some of the most thoughtful people on earth
Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home in Tunkhannock, PA sets up four memorial christmas trees every year. Each is decorated with ornaments of pictures of loved ones who passed away the following year. The funeral home is opened up for anyone to come see the trees or take their ornament home.
When they are not planning funeral services, funeral directors are most often brainstorming other ways to demonstrate their commitment to families in their local area. Many will host or sponsor events that bring people together. Others hold clothing or food drives for those in need. In addition, every Christmas season, funeral homes across the country hold remembrance services that bring together those in their community who have lost a loved one, often provoding Christmas ornaments or keepsakes to families. These events are held for no purpose other than to bring comfort and companionship to those who are in need of having their spirits lifted during the holidays.
Ask any employee at ASD who their favorite funeral director is and they will instantly reply with a name. So many of our clients make a point of asking our Call Specialists how their day is going or what news they have to share. Others respond to messages online or on ASD Mobile with compliments and words of encouragement for our staff. Around the holidays, we have even received baskets, cookie trays, candies and gift cards from funeral directors. It is a joy to work with clients who go out of their way to be friendly and thoughtful towards our staff.
9. Funeral directors help families tell meaningful life stories
A few incredible examples of ways funeral homes have helped families to personalize their loved one's memorial service
Funeral directors today are helping families memorialize their loved one in new and interesting ways. Most people don’t realize how many small details directors consider when planning a service with a family. Personal touches, like having the funeral home staff wear the deceased favorite color or flower, are often added by the director without the family even having to ask. Thinking outside the box while paying close attention to the family’s wishes and memories of their departed loved one allow funeral directors to plan a truly personalized service.
Directors help families create special elements for their loved one’s service from memories, talents and important life events. From providing a memorial tree or plant at a service for someone who loved the outdoors to creating a travel board that displays all the different places a person visited in their lives, there is no shortage of creative ideas within the funeral profession. By taking time to learn about the person’s life and legacy, directors have helped families to pay tribute to their loved ones in truly inspiring ways.
Visit our Pinterest Board for more funeral personalization ideas and inspiration.
10. Funeral Directors make time for the people and causes they care about.
The often-hectic life of a funeral director leaves limited time for personal activities. Despite this, many funeral professionals make it a priority to become involved with the causes they care about. Funeral professionals have a deeper understanding of how precious life is and often feel compelled to support organizations and non-profits that are bringing about positive change in the world.
At ASD, we know that our clients are pulled in many different directions, which is why it means so much when a funeral director stops by to tour our office and meet our staff. We also greatly appreciate all of the directors who stop by our booth during funeral conventions, attend our cocktail parties, engage with us on social media or earn their CE credits in our office. These are just a few examples of different occasions when our clients have dedicated their limited time to getting to know the ASD team.
We are thankful for all of the quality time we got to spend with funeral directors this year.
We feel honored, privileged and so very thankful to work with such dedicated professionals. Thank you for allowing us to help you serve others! From everyone here at ASD, we wish you a very happy and healthy Valentine Day!
About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (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 Jess@myASD.com