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What Does A Funeral Home Do?


What Does A Funeral Home Do?

Published: November 5, 2018, by Vilonia Funeral Home

Have you ever wondered what does a funeral home do? Before we tell you what a funeral home does, let us first look at what a funeral home is, the history behind funeral homes in the united states, and why people have used funeral homes until today.

A funeral home is a business that provides legal disposition of the dead and funeral services for their families. According to SBDC.net, there are over 21,000 funeral homes in the United States and eighty-nine percent of these funeral homes are family owned funeral homes. But where did all begin? How did the modern funeral home and funeral ceremony as we know it begin?

The modern-day funeral home became very popular in the United States during the civil war. Prior to this time, families cared for their own dead in their homes. Wikipedia tells us, "Prior to the mid-19th century, the dead were prepared, dressed, and displayed by their own family. The body was displayed in a homemade or purchased casket in the family's home. Wealthier families had “proper” rooms that held their finest possessions during viewings, and some family homes had a separate door known as a "coffin door" or “death door” to remove the body as it was custom for the body not to cross a doorway where the living crossedEmbalming emerged during the Civil War since many soldiers were dying on the battlefield and their families wanted their bodies sent back home for burial. Dr. Auguste Renouard, a pioneer in the field of embalming, published “The Undertakers’ Manual” in 1878. The first embalming school, the Cincinnati School of Embalming, was founded in 1882 by Joseph Henry Clarke, and in 1883, Dr. Renouard opened the Rochester School of Embalming. The push for embalming occurred simultaneously with the move away from families caring for the dead and for undertakers to organize themselves as “professionals.” The first professional trade association was established in Philadelphia in 1964." You can read this article in full by following the link directly to the Wikipedia Article. Death Care Industry In The United States.

Now that we know what a funeral home is, and how it all got started in the United States, let's delve into finding out What do funeral homes do? Well, we already told you that funeral homes are a business that provides legal disposition of the dead and funeral services for their families, but it is much deeper than this.

First, the funeral home and their funeral directors, are available 24 hours a day to assist a family immediately at the time of death. This often happens after the offices are closed, or on a holiday. Regardless of when, or where the death occurs, a funeral home director responds immediately to the needs of the family during that time.  At the moment that the funeral home receives the initial call for service from a hospital, coroner, or nurse, they usually respond to the place of death and transport the body to the funeral home. At this time, if the funeral home has received prior authorization to embalm the body, then the embalming process will begin.  If we do not have permission to embalm, or the family has chosen services that do not require embalming, then the body would be placed in refrigeration to temporarily retard decomposition until the funeral service or cremation can take place. 

Secondly, the funeral home will file the death certificate at the time of death. Most death certificates in the state of Arkansas are now electronic through a system called Erave. Your funeral director will have access to this portal and will gather all of the necessary information needed for the death certificate during the arrangement conference, and file for certified copies of the death certificate. You will need a certified copy of the death certificate to file any life insurance claims, and many other legal reasons. A death certificate is also required before cremation can take place.

Thirdly, the funeral home assists the family in preparing the obituary and submitting the obituaries to the newspapers. Many newspapers will not publish an obituary unless it is prepared and submitted to them from a local funeral home. Sometimes families will write their own obituary and bring it to the funeral director, and the funeral director will submit the obituary to the newspaper.

The funeral home also prepares the body for a viewing, visitation, and or an open casket funeral ceremony. In addition to embalming the body, the funeral home will shave the deceased (if necessary), manicure their nails, arrange for a hairdresser to fix or cut the hair of the deceased, dress the body, do cosmetics, place the deceased in the casket, and set-up in a viewing room for visitation, chapel, or church for a funeral ceremony.

The funeral home assists with obtaining all permits for burial or cremation assists with transporting deceased individuals across state lines for burial, or bringing your loved one home for burial. This includes but is not limited to coordinating flight schedules and transporting the body to/from the airport.

The funeral home is available to receive flowers at their office during office hours. This allows a family to spend time with their loved ones without being bothered with florists trying to make deliveries to your home. The flowers are received, arranged at the chapel, transported to the church, and/or transported to the cemetery for burial. Many times the funeral home will deliver the potted plants to the families home after the service or burial has taken place.

The funeral home arranges for and assists the family with planning the funeral ceremony, memorial service, or celebration of life. Regardless if it is a complete traditional burial or a cremation, the funeral home can assist you and guide you through the entire funeral planning process. This includes, contacting the church and minister, arranging burial at the cemetery, preparing the grave for burial, transporting the deceased to the church or graveside with dignity, making sure the flowers arrive to the church and cemetery, selecting music for the funeral ceremony, and many other important things that must be done before the day of the funeral service or memorial service.

The funeral home assists you with merchandise such as caskets, vaults, urns, preparing slide shows, memorial folders, register books, flowers, and many other funeral related items that you may want for your funeral or memorial service.

The funeral home also helps people plan their final wishes before they pass away, and assists with burial insurance if needed. 


Vilonia Funeral Home and Cremation in Vilonia, Arkansas is an affordable funeral home and cremation service offering each family personal, respectful, and dignified service. Vilonia Funeral Home is a local funeral home that is family owned and operated by the Matos Family. For more information about how Vilonia Funeral Home and Cremation can save your family thousands on funeral and cremation costs, give us a call 24 hours a day at 501-796-2275 or come by the office at 1134 Main Street Vilonia, AR. 72173.  
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