8 Funeral Professional Women You Should Know About

March 2, 2015
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Article by Rilee Chastain, funeralOne

Women have long been an important part of the funeral profession. Being that many funeral homes across the country started as (and remain) family owned and operated businesses, many moms and sisters have become funeral directors right alongside dads and brothers in order to help the local families in their community.

And each year, more and more women are studying to become funeral professionals and are going on to make a huge impact with their families in their community. In fact, 57% of today’s mortuary science students in the United States are women – many of them first-generation funeral directors.

So today, we are giving a big shout-out to all of the ladies out there that help to bring awareness and passion to the funeral profession. Specifically, these 8 women of funeral service who you should be paying attention to.

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Pia Interlandi

Pia first entered the funeral profession through a unique way – fashion design. Yes, you heard us right. In addition to being a certified funeral celebrant who has worked in London with Clandon Wood Natural Burial Reserve, she also is a fashion designer who has extensively studied the effects of clothing and textiles on decomposition. Her project, [A]Dressing Death: Garments for the Grave lead her to create custom designed biodegradable burial garments with client family participation. Since then, she has had plenty of experience in the dressing of the deceased, each time more unique and personal than the last.

Carla Valentine

Carla’s website, The Chick and the Dead, describes her perfectly – she is a woman who works closely with the dead as a Mortuary Technician. While she has done everything from carrying out autopsies on hospital and forensic cases, to Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology in WWII graves in Belgium, she now is the Technical Curator at the Barts Pathology Museum. Her primary responsibility? “Restoring the 5000 anatomical pots to their former glory and teasing stories from the dead in a different way.” She talks about her job on YouTube and on her blog. Check her out!

Lauren LeRoy

It is no secret that we are a big fan of Lauren (and her blog, Little Miss Funeral) here at funeralOne. In fact, we liked her writing so much that we have asked her to write for our own blog several times. (Check out her last post here!) But who is the woman behind the writing? Lauren is a 24-year-old licensed funeral director in New York State. She took to her now notorious blog in March 2012 as a way to share her different thoughts and ideas on the funeral industry, and she’s been a hit ever since.

Alicia Carr

Alicia comes from a long line of funeral professionals, and her family-run business, Kelco Supply Company, has long been a supplier dedicated to serving funeral professionals with products their families will love. Since taking over as owner of Kelco Supply Co in 2004, not only has she worked hard to maintain her family’s commitment to service, but she also became board trustee of the Selected Independent Funeral Homes Education Trust – a group that provides support to the entire independent funeral home profession. Talk about a hard working woman.

Chanel Reynolds

Like many others who experience the world of funerals for the first time, Chanel entered through unfortunate circumstances. After becoming a widow and single mother when her husband was killed in an accident in 2009, she decided to spin the tragedy that she was facing into a positive, actionable plan – her website, Get Your Shit Together. This blunt, yet amazingly helpful website aims to give others the power to create wills, financial plans and insurance plans for their loved ones, helping to reduce the burden of suffering for those who may go through something similar to what she did. Now that she claims she “mostly” has her sh*t together, she is aiming to help others in the world.

Jessica Koth

Another funeralOne guest writer that we love to share the praises of is Jessica Koth. Currently the Public Relations Manager for the National Funeral Directors Association, Jessica is constantly sharing her take on the latest trends and news in the funeral profession, and getting director’s minds spinning. (Just check out her last guest blog which touches on the mistakes that funeral professionals make when it comes to cremation.)

Heather Ratcliff

If you are thinking about getting started in the funeral profession, or you would just like to read a beautifully-written take on what it is like to live, eat and breathe funerals, Heather’s blog, Mortuary Report, is a must-read. She first began writing about her tales and experiences in the profession while she was still in mortuary school, and is still writing now about both the amazing moments and the hardships of the the job years later. (She has just finished her two year embalming apprenticeship this past October.) A great read for anyone looking to take a deep dive into what it’s like starting out in the profession.

Sarah Wambold

Sarah is funeral director and embalmer in Austin, TX that has a very unique take on the profession. In addition to being a caretaker at Eloise Wood, Central Texas’ only natural burial cemetery, she is also working to open her own funeral home with an art gallery. She hopes that this innovative funeral home would help combine a place to process the dead with a gallery that would showcase the artwork of the local community. You can follow her journey through her American Funeral Home Revolution series.


Is there an amazing woman in the funeral industry that you would like to give a shout out to? Let us know who they are and why they are a positive force in the funeral profession in the comments below! We may even feature them in an upcoming blog.

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