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Funeral Director Caleb Wilde Interviewed on 20/20

The following was posted by Caleb Wilde on his blog “Confessions of a Funeral Director”:

Two weeks ago ABC's 20/20 came out to Parkesburg and filmed me on site at the funeral home for about an hour and a half.

Somebody at the studio had been reading my blog and thought I'd fit into a segment called "True Confessions."

As a condition to the interview, I asked the producer to be respectful toward my family's business as I didn't want our 160 year old reputation to be sullied in a two minute nationally televised TV show.  They accepted my stipulation, so I agreed to the interview.

I only told a couple friends that 20/20 was interviewing me (actually, I don't think I told anyone ... my immediate family did most of the telling).

John Berman was the interviewer.  He was a pleasant person.  Harvard educated.  A New England sports fan.  Very relaxed and generous in person.

The producer was a tall, pensive, well-spoken man.  At one point I say, "People sometimes buy (caskets) out of guilt."  That line was at the producer's prompt.  The association between guilt and an expensive funeral fancied him.

The camera and sound crew were all local guys who were independent contractors.  Some were out of West Chester, others out of Philly.  And I liked them all ... the main cameraman was especially entertaining (did you know that professional cameras start at around $70,000?).

I had my suit dry cleaned, bought a new dress shirt and tie, created and purchased "Wilde Funeral Home" t-shirts for all the crew and had one sleepless night all for two minutes of national televised face time.

Even though they forgot to post my twitter handle on air, it was a good experience and so far (based off the responses I've received) the Parkesburg community seems to be proud of the fact that 20/20 came out to Parkesburg.

Here's a couple behind the scenes shots and a clip of the interview.

Caleb Wilde

I'm a sixth generation funeral director. I have a grad degree in Missional Theology. And I like to read and write. Connect with my writing and book plans by "liking" me on facebook. And keep tabs with my blog via subscription or twitter.

  • fluidpusher

    Nice job!

  • ASD

    Congrats Caleb! Very entertaining interview, you have a great sense of humor!

  • Loweringdevice

    This guy is a typical greedy funeral director who attempts to scare and horrify folks away from cremation. Perhaps he can be excused as he well knows cremation will affect his bottom line.

    Cremation is rapidly rising as a respectful form of disposition and with few extreme exceptions concludes with a very satisfactory result.

    • luke

      And you’re basing this accusation off of what?

      • Loweringdevice

        Well, from this clip that accompanies this article. 

        I wonder if this funeral director shows any family, who may inquire about cremation disposition, the balls of fire, sizzling barbeque steak and of course we must tell them about the tragic and horrible episode which took place in the woods of Georgia.

        Notice there is no mention of the funeral directors, many who paid damages, for their lack of oversight and dereliction their duty to monitor third party contractors.

    • Johannes

      Holy crap!  Nice comment about greed from loweringdevice. He is typical of the angry and bitter veterans that need to fade away so young blood like Caleb can take over and bring a new attitude to this industry that clearly needs an overhaul.
      I would like to remind loweringdevice of his own comment (from an Alan Creedy submission) that loweringdevice posted on connectingdirectors.com about scamming people back in the day…. think he should change his name to loweringstandards!



      Loweringdevice wrote on March 15th, 2012 – “I’ve been around this business for 60 years now and believe me 60 years ago these funeral homes were great profitable operations if one could handle the confinement and the occasional maggots. Back then no talked much about funeral service and after the first call was achieved we could scam a few more bucks out of the bereaved with the sealed casket hoax…”

      • Loweringdevice

        The sealed casket business (hoax) was perhaps the greatest revenue enhancer to the profitability of the average funeral home in the past and I am guilty of using this scam to increase profits.

        But I saw the light and admit my mistakes. Since you have such a low opinion of me I suspect you may share my views regarding the value of so called “sealed protective “caskets. I even confessed to my parish priest my sin of screwing the old widows out of their money with the sealed casket hoax.

        • Lgervais

          Nice! Bet that was a first for your priest….LOL

          • Loweringdevice

            Lgervais Posts: >>>Nice! Bet that was a first for your priest<<<

            Gosh, he didn’t seem a bit surprised perhaps due to his close association with many funeral directors in the community.

            He said, “For your penance say three Hail Marys and three Our Fathers and in the case of theft, restitution must be made when possible.” He suggested I provide burial and cremation for the indigent dead as a form of restitution. He then said, “Go forth and sin no more.“