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ASD’s Funeral Director Artist of the Month: Gary Lee Westerman


Apr 17, 2015

The origin of funeral directing in America began with artistry. Furniture builders, woodworkers and other craftsmen were called upon to build coffins for our nation’s fallen after the Civil War. As the death toll began to rise, skilled tradesman, who often worked under the title, “Furniture Maker and Undertaker”, were often needed to measure the deceased, prepare the body for viewing and assist with the burial. It was these artisans that laid the foundation for the funeral profession.

The artistic spirit of our nation’s first undertakers lives on in the creative pursuits of funeral directors today. The delicate art of embalming requires focus, excellent eye-hand coordination and an eye for detail, so it’s no surprise that many funeral professionals are creatively gifted. We were curious what other artistic skills and passions funeral directors possessed, so we reached out to our clients and asked them to share their creative talent with us. The response blew us away.

Each month, ASD will be featuring a different funeral director artist on our blog. This month, we are pleased to share photos from experienced woodworker, Gary Lee Westerman, Director of Brown’s Memorial Funeral Home in Irving, TX. Gary has been involved with carpentry and cabinetwork for more than 20 years. He has completed many projects for his church and friends.
Below are a few of the photos Gary was kind of enough to share with us that show the artistry and craftsmanship of his woodworking projects:

A reception desk that Gary built for his church. Gary also created the wood-framed bulletin boards on the wall behind the desk.
A faux organ pipe shelf with a wrap around to mask speakers. Gary created this for his church as well.

A photo of Gary working on the pipe shelf in his church.

A garden shed that Gary built from scratch in his back yard.

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”-St. Francis of Assissi.

Thank you Gary for allowing us to share your artistic talent on ASD’s blog.

Click here to see last month’s Funeral Director Artist spotlight

Click here to learn how ASD’s solutions for funeral professionals can give you more time to pursue your creative passions.


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


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