Funeral Industry News

Funeral Home Solicits Donations For Cremation. What Do You Think?

July 14, 2010

Funeral Home Solicits Donations For Cremation. What Do You Think?

imagePaul Serling Smith has been cremated and the funeral home is accepting donations to pay for the bill.

Smith is the man accused of abducting Alisa Maier in Louisiana, Missouri and is also the prime suspect in the murder of a Hawk Point car repair shop owner.

The Jay B. Smith Funeral Home in Maplewood is accepting donations for Paul Smith, who was apparently broke. Even though he was cremated, it still costs money and someone’s got to pay.

Paul Smith’s obituary ran in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on Sunday. The last line says “Donations for trust of Paul Smith can be sent to an address on Manchester Road,” which is the Jay B. Smith Funeral Home.

State Funeral Director’s Association spokesperson Don Otto says it’s nothing new.

“It’s not unusual to see funds set up, whether they’re through the funeral director, or a bank or a charitable organization,” he said.

The funeral home owner John Hardy explained via email: “The Smith family was referred to me by one of my family that works with a member of the Smith family. This is, of course, a very sad situation. I am here to help surviving family move on with their life after a death, and I am obligated to protect their privacy. This family has limited financial means, but some down payment was made by several family members. No donations have been received and probably will not. The family will have to make payments on the remaining balance of the direct cremation they selected. He was not a veteran and there are no state or county funds to help families with these expenses.”

The funeral home’s website lists the cost of that service at $1,350, a bill someone has to pay. But the idea that taxpayers or anyone else might foot the bill does not sit well with some folks.

The State Funeral Director’s Association said when someone dies and is indigent, or broke, the county is ultimately repsonsible for their disposition.

That apparently won’t be the case. Smith’s family members will be billed for the difference if no donations come in.


How do you feel about the funeral home asking for donations for Paul Smith’s cremation? Post your comments below.