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ASD’s Funeral Director Artist of the Month: Todd Althenn


May 19, 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 sketch artist, Todd Althenn, Director of Clair S. Bartholomew & Son Funeral Home in Bellmore, NY.
Below are a few of the photos Todd was kind enough to share with us of hand drawn pencil portraits he has completed. The resemblance and level of detail is quite remarkable!

“I have always been artistic,” Todd says. “I was considering becoming an architect before going into the funeral business. I also did pinstriping and custom paint work on cars when I was in high school and college.”

“The drawing of the child is my son who was born when I was 32. That was my second portrait,” Todd says. “He’s 16 now. My wife had given me a book on how to draw portraits, thinking it was something I could do. Most of the drawings I do, I give to friends or family as a gift”

Thank you to Todd for allowing us to 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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