Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Why Do People Choose a Funeral Home?


Like many people, I set “Google Alerts” for key topics I follow about end-of-life. Recently, my alerts are unusually concentrated with media reports that revolve around cremation.

The latest media hype, was over a funeral home having unclaimed cremated remains. What this means, is that the deceased’s family, for whatever reasons never picked up their loved one's cremated remains from the funeral home or crematory. This may sound strange to the general public, however, it really isn't newsworthy. For all funeral homes and crematories across the country, it’s a common occurrence.

Other alerts include wedding planners adding funeral celebrations to their repertoire, and entrepreneurs who have a new concept to send their loved one off in style. One company was trying to raise money to build a rocket that will fly your loved one's cremated remains to the moon.

After reading these alerts, I have become curious about the reasons behind the "why" people choose a funeral home. The next few paragraphs will share observations, random thoughts, and questions about this topic. As you read this, please take a moment to reflect and share your thoughts at the end.

Familiarity? History shows, a major reason is because that’s where their family always went. Today, this doesn’t prove to be true. Location, can also be a factor. To some degree, this still holds true. However, funeral homes, much like hospitals, are a destination, typically not a place of convenience.

Is price the determining factor? If price is strictly the case, many funeral homes have a “free” cremation option. It’s an organ and body part donation option, that is followed by cremation. This is a newer concept and is offered though a company called MedCure, who partners with funeral homes. MedCure is a for profit organ donation business, that will compensate the funeral home for their professional services and the necessary legalities. The deceased's family will receive their loved one’s cremated remains within 12 weeks after death, along with one death certificate.

This option is not too good to be true — its very real. MedCure is a reputable company that provides a no cost cremation solution for families. Keep in mind that MedCure does have the right to decline a body based on it's condition. There are two reasonable caveats that must be met which revolves around the condition of the deceased. You can learn more about this on their website.

Do people perceive funeral homes as a rip off? Probably to some degree. It only takes one disreputable funeral professional to place a stigma for everyone who operates an honest business. All professions have their “black sheep.” However, because there is reverence that comes with the care of the dead, one unethical behavior, becomes over sensationalized and then the poster child for all death care professionals.

Just a side note. The death care profession is highly regulated. Funeral homes, directors and their staff must uphold to numerous standards. All of which are set by the Federal Trade Commission, Occupational Safety and Heath Administration, Music Licensing and Regulation, Insurance and Trust institutions that regulate pre-funded funerals, not to mention all the necessary insurance liability requirements.

Does religion or race play a role? Many ethnic communities remain segregated by choice. For example, 98% of all African Americans patronage a funeral home that is owned and operated by African Americans. As a country, we should be past this. How do we overcome this norm?

Religion – one could argue either side of that decision. Statistics show, that there is a decrease of persons who attend organized religion. Why? The baby boomer generation have a large segment that is "un-churched."

Please don’t confuse un-churched with “un-religious.” A large sector of boomers will outwardly say they are spiritual. Others will say they have their own personal relationship with God, and don't feel the need to congregate with others. There are also others who have prayer groups at their home, rather than attending a church.

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Does the deceased control the funeral home choice? Most families will honor their loved one’s request by using the funeral home their loved one requested. If the deceased pre-arranged or prefunded their funeral, 99% of the time, the survivors honor that decision.

As an end of life expert, understanding the wants and needs of today’s consumer, is how I help death care professionals better serve their community. In today's world, funeral norms are becoming a thing of the past. My observation is that people don't know what they want, but they do know what they don't want!

In closing, what are your thoughts on this subject. The only way the end of life and death care profession we can learn, is to ask and then listen! Your insight is valuable. Please visit my blog here and let me know what you think! Why do people choose a funeral home?

Visit one of Clock Funeral Homes' three locations at 1469 Peck St. in Muskegon, (231) 722-3721; 16777 Lincoln in Grand Haven, (616) 844-4200; or 3592 Pontaluna Rd. in Fruitport, (231) 865 6151. The website contains useful information about services, planning, and more. Information about sister company Clock Timeless Pets is at To purchase Navigating the Elder Care Journey…Without Going Broke! by Jodi Clock, go to

Click here to return to CONTENTS PAGE.

Jazz: Midnight, with art inspired by jazz album cover design, drops readers into the late night music clubs of 1957. From Gary Scott Beatty. Click here for Jazz: Midnight.

Wounds, Gary Scott Beatty’s zombie horror book with a twist, is now on Amazon. Click here for Wounds.

Worlds, the first Gary Scott Beatty retrospective is now on Amazon. This 96 page collection includes early work, unpublished art, in-depth articles, a jazz art gallery and more. Click here for “Worlds.”

Muskegon, Muskegon County's online magazine

Brought to you by our advertisers


Loving God and loving others doesn’t mean that we are not to love ourselves in healthy ways. Beth Bolthouse of Front Porch church explains here. VIDEO!

This month, the Hackley and Hume houses are decorated, a Chase Bros. Piano Co. ornament is available, and more, at the Lakeshore Museum Center.

Looking for something to do in December that’s commercial-free (and free)? Check out Hackly Public Library’s stress-free easy-going options. VIDEO!

You should pay yourself first — by buying a home! Realtor Nancy Bierenga explains why and how here, in this informative article.

Jodi Clock has become curious about the reasons behind why people choose a funeral home. Her observations, and her questions to you, are here.

Judith Delis of Seminole Shores Living Center says respite care benefits both seniors and caregivers. Find out how this short term stay service could benefit you.

During this holiday season, Christine Robere is thankful for all those who give their time, talent and treasure to United Way of the Lakeshore.

Graduations, baby showers, birthdays, class reunions, and retirement parties can be difficult to plan! Laurel Sass helps you cover the basics in this article.

The Carr-Fles Planetarium presents Mystery of the Christmas Star through December 14! Plus, explore the night sky here. VIDEO!

Happy holidays! Enjoy these cartoons from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, including a rare nitrate print of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! VIDEO!

Enjoy what’s happening with Muskegon County's BEST online events calendar, from Hackley Public Library.

Click here to return to CONTENTS PAGE.
Inquire about ADVERTISING here.

Muskegon is locally owned and produced. Gary Scott Beatty, editor and publisher. Contents and design © Copyright Gary Scott Beatty, 1509 Princeton Rd., Muskegon, Michigan 49441.

Muskegon is an educational and informational service to help you make informed decisions. The content, tools and services of Muskegon are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.