Racing Caskets & Marijuana Men | 4M #110

Funeral Industry News Morticians' Monday Morning Mashup October 30, 2023
4M 110

Racing Caskets & Marijuana Men | 4M #110

Welcome to the hundred-and-tenth edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, 4M #110, 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.

More Colorado controversy

As we’ve shared over the last few weeks, the recent discovery of nearly 200 bodies in varying stages of decay at a green funeral home storage facility has once again put Colorado’s deathcare profession under the microscope, and investigative reporters are now revisiting grievous mishaps at other facilities. For example, on October 25, one of the state’s NPR outlets reminded readers of the April 2023 fire at Greenwood & Myers Mortuary in Weld County, Colorado. During an investigation into the incident (which is speculated to have been caused by a faulty retort), authorities discovered that the company had been performing cremations and services for months at this particular location without a certificate of occupancy for the building or “valid licenses from the state.” In the same story, KUNC News also shared that they’d found records of three other 2023 incidents at deathcare facilities across Colorado. The records were available on a “clunky, hard-to-navigate” regulatory database; let’s hope that potential updates to deathcare laws help to keep this database from growing in the “deathcare tragedy” category.

Property with potential

An Arizona real estate agent is doing her best to market a unique 10-acre property: A green cemetery with a “spirited” past. Memory Gardens Cemetery in Bisbee is the final resting place for more than 900 souls — some of whom might be responsible for the “unexplained happenings” described by the seller. As the property (currently priced at $299,000) has had little interest since being listed a year ago, the agent has proposed multiple options for potential buyers: Building a house near the property from which one could sell plots, establishing a greenhouse to sell trees to be “planted at the plots,” or developing the six-acre parcel adjacent to the cemetery into multi-family housing. 

And the West was history

The Durango (Colorado) Herald’s “And the West is History” column recently shared the  historic 1904 image below of students of the city’s mortuary school:

Here’s the caption included with the photo: Ray Goodman followed his father into the undertaking profession, as well as the paint, glass and wallpaper business. He worked at both during the early 1900s in Durango. Ray (front row, third from left) is shown here with his Clark’s Cincinnati College of Embalming classmates shortly before returning to Durango in 1904. He bought his father’s funeral parlor in 1912 and served as both deputy coroner and corner until 1921. In 1918, he was urgently called to Silverton during the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic to take over for the local mortician, who was himself gravely ill from the flu. Goodman left the funeral business in 1919 because of the epidemic overwhelming his business, as well as the emotional toll that came from interring so many of his acquaintances. However, he continued successfully in the paint and glass business for many years until his retirement. He died in Durango at age 82 in 1967. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, (Catalog Number: 13.01.54 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)

Cemetery shenanigans

Who says cemeteries can’t be fun? Last Friday, an Ohio cemetery held its “Walk with the Dead” event, inviting guests to participate in a 5k or 1-mile run or walk … while dressed as ghosts. The costume portion of the event is the cemetery’s attempt to break the world record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as ghosts.” In Illinois, a “cemetery-rich suburb” of Chicago held its 11th annual “Casket Races,” where souped-up caskets race for prizes including “creepiest casket” and “dead last” place.

Of course paranormal activity is bigger there

It’s a title most places wouldn’t be super excited about winning, but Texas isn’t just any place. According to a recent “analysis” conducted by an online gambling blog (?), Texas is officially the “most haunted state in the nation.” The blog’s results measured each states’ “potential for the paranormal” by tabulating its number of cemeteries (14k), reported ghost sightings (7,517 per 100,000 people), alleged haunted locations (925), and the number of paranormal investigators. Maine was #2, Florida was #3, and New Jersey took home the title of the country’s least haunted state.

Extended visitation

Most people visiting a funeral home can’t wait to leave, but recently a man was having such a high time at a Tennessee mortuary that it took an arrest to get him off the property. According to The Advocate & Democrat, a “wandering man” settled himself on the stoop of a Tellico Plains funeral home and refused to leave. When police arrived, a pat-down turned up marijuana and drug paraphernalia, adding possession charges to the criminal trespassing charges that led to his arrest.

GH zombies

Like most other soap operas, General Hospital has conquered problem storylines with a simple solution that otherwise would only be plausible in horror movies: Bringing characters back from the dead. This pattern has led one Soaphub reporter to ponder whether the deathcare industry of fictional Port Charles, New York is in a “bust or boom,” as “no one stays dead” while others “die more than once.” In the reporter’s opinion, these deaths and their subsequent “refunds” cancel one another out, leaving the town’s undertakers financially solvent. With this matter settled, she goes on to share results from a recent readers poll asking which GH characters should be resurrected next. In this case, life is actually not at all like a soap opera (thank goodness).

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!