Hot Handguns & Mailbox Moms | 4M #96
Welcome to the ninety-sixth edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, 4M #96, where we’ll serve up bite-sized, easily-digestible nuggets of the deathcare news you need to crush conversations in the week ahead. Bon appetit!
This newsletter is powered by MemoryShare, a funeral livestreaming platform that you can set up in 30 seconds or less.
Another one bites the dust
In a perfect world, every individual working in deathcare would act with integrity, follow the rules, and stay off the police blotter. Alas, we don’t live in a perfect world; in fact, there’s probably no profession with a 100% crime-free population. Last week, a North Carolina funeral home owner pleaded guilty to a laundry list of charges related to his mismanagement of funds and — sadly — bodies. Jeremiah “J.R.” Whitt will serve a minimum of three years in prison and five years of probation in addition to paying more than $51,000 in restitution for charges ranging from embezzling preneed funds to insurance fraud. Additional charges for disturbing human remains stemmed from authorities finding two deceased persons at a residential property owned by Whitt’s family. Some good news, though: A new team of deathcare professionals has reopened a funeral home in Whitt’s former location to serve the community.
Apparently you can take it with you
Imagine reaching for the button to open the retort door after a cremation and hearing gunshots coming from inside! No, this isn’t some Black Mirror undead gangster episode. It’s what actually happened at a Boston funeral home last week. Somehow, a loaded firearm escaped detection at the hospital, the hospital morgue (where the body lay for two months), the medical examiner’s office, and most importantly, the funeral home. The retort operator reported hearing eight gunshots just before opening the retort to retrieve the cremains.
If you’ve watched Netflix’s new movie “The Out-Laws,” chances are you recoiled in horror during the chase scene, as star Adam Devine drove a stolen armored truck through a large cemetery, plowing down tombstones and rolling through a mausoleum and a graveside service in progress. Well, we’re happy to report that no actual graves or caskets containing the recently deceased were harmed during the filming of the movie. The entire cemetery was created on an empty lot, complete with hundreds of plaster-coated Styrofoam monuments. As a joke, the production team inscribed several of the stones with the actual names of acquaintances, including a barber who gave the director a “really bad haircut,” his proctologist, and a “couple” of his exes.
Now that’s what we call a multi-use space
In a country where 20% of the population lives below the poverty line (on less than $300 per month for a family of five, on average), it might come as no surprise that folks have few options for affordable living space. Which explains why one family lives in an empty mausoleum and runs a convenience store out of the cemetery grounds. In fact, this family is one of dozens making their homes in the Chinese Cemetery in Cebu, an island settlement in the Philippines. The 100-plus-year-old cemetery, once a sought-after resting place for the island’s elite, has fallen into disrepair. In an effort to revitalize the property, the Philippine government is evicting the cemetery’s living residents to make room for a $1.8 million heritage park.
Most deathcare professionals are familiar with the specific requirements for mailing human cremains via the United States Postal Service, and most (if not all) follow the rules. However, that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made. In a recent audit, the USPS found that 452 sets of cremains were literally lost in the mail; one has been missing for eight years. To be fair, many of these packages were mailed by “civilians” to various companies for inclusion in cremation products like jewelry, and a good number of properly-labeled packages were damaged during shipment and therefore never made it to the right destination. However, the audit is a great opportunity to remind your staff to make sure they’re following the USPS rules to ensure that Mom ends up in the proper mailbox.
Say goodbye to Facebook
If you’re using Facebook for live streaming, does this sound familiar?
- Copyrighted music is silenced (even with proper certifications!)
- Advertisements out of your control pop up during the livestream
- It’s difficult for families to access because it requires a Facebook account
This is why Carlton Stevens Jr., Operations Manager and Mortician at Stevens Funeral Home in North Carolina, said goodbye to Facebook and switched to MemoryShare—a live streaming platform built specifically for funeral professionals.
“Now, families don’t have to worry about Facebook accounts. It works, and it’s easy to use,” Carlton said. “It’s the best, I’m telling you. It’s liquid gold.”
After he started offering live streaming during the pandemic, Carlton saw Stevens Funeral Home call volume bump from 20 calls to 41 calls.
Today, Stevens Funeral Home live streams a service every other day.
And with MemoryShare, all they have to do is push a button.
“It’s a no brainer,” Carlton said.
Read how Carlton is using livestreaming to grow his business in our latest case study—click here to read it!