Funeral home

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File:Seattle - Butterworth funeral home office - 1900.jpg
Offices of the Butterworth & Sons mortuary in Seattle, Washington, 1900.
File:Seattle Chapel 03.jpg
A former funeral home in Seattle (2007)
File:Seattle - Columbia Funeral Home 01.jpg
A funeral home in Seattle (2007)

A funeral home, or mortuary, is a business that provides burial and funeral services for the deceased and their families. These services may include a prepared wake and funeral, and the provision of a chapel for the funeral.


Funeral homes arrange services in accordance with the wishes of families and the deceased. The funeral home often takes care of the necessary paperwork, permits, and other details, such as making arrangements with the cemetery, and providing obituaries to the news media.

There are a few common types of services in the United States of America. A traditional funeral service consists of a viewing (sometimes referred to as a wake), a funeral service at the church of the deceased (or at the mortuary chapel), and a graveside committal service. Direct cremation consists of the mortuary receiving the remains of the deceased, filing the necessary paperwork (according to state laws), and completing the cremation process. Direct/immediate Burial is when the family of the deceased forgoes a funeral ceremony and solely wishes their loved one to be buried in a timely manner. Forwarding or receiving of remains to or from another mortuary consists of preparing the body for shipment in a casket strapped into an airtray or a combination unit. This is used when the cemetery in which the deceased is to be buried lies in another state or country.

When the deceased are brought to the funeral home, they are sometimes embalmed to delay decomposition. The typical embalming procedure involves replacement of the blood of the decedent with a mixture of preservative chemicals and dyes, aspiration of the internal organs, and the setting of the person's features. The use of makeup to make a person look more lifelike is often employed. If the deceased was disfigured from an accident or illness, the embalmer can sometimes utilize restorative techniques to make the corpse presentable for an open casket service. If the embalmer is unable to do so, or if the family requests otherwise, the funeral home can perform a closed casket service.

The funeral home often sets aside one or more large areas for families to gather at a visitation. This area may contain a space to display the deceased in their casket for visitors to pay their respects. Funeral services and memorial services may also take place at the funeral home. Many funeral homes also offer prearrangement services for those who wish to prepare their own funeral services before death.

Because of the increasing popularity of cremation, there are more funeral homes with crematoriums.[citation needed] Funeral homes without facilities on-site often contract the work out to other firms.

Some funeral homes are family owned and operated. Others are part of larger corporations; however, unlike those in other industries, these corporations often act anonymously to appear as if they are family owned. [1] One of the largest corporations is Service Corporation International.

Funeral homes in popular culture

  • The television series Six Feet Under portrayed a fictional funeral home.
  • The television series Family Plots showed the operations of an actual Californian funeral home. The show lasted for two seasons before it was canceled.
  • In the movie My Girl Harry Sultenfuss (Dan Aykroyd) ran a mortuary from his home.
  • In the Lifetime tv movie Wisegal, Frank Russo, the mafia captain, owns a Funeral Home as a front

See also


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