Goat Heads & Funeral Fights | 4M #113
Welcome to the hundred-and-thirteenth edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, 4M #113, 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.
For Unlawful Cremation
Adding ammunition to the argument for stronger Colorado deathcare regulations is this report that the owner of Greenwood & Myers Mortuary in Frederick is facing 152 counts of unlawful cremation. A reportedly retort-related fire at the fairly new facility earlier this year alerted authorities to the fact that this particular location of Greenwood & Myers had been operating with an expired license.
This is not the place for that
Following several “grisly finds” of evidence of animal sacrifices at Long Island cemeteries, the local authorities are issuing a $2,000 reward for information on the perpetrators. The remains of a chicken, black rooster, and white dove — all beheaded — were recently found in a circular pattern. Another time, a beheaded chicken was found in a bag along with chunks of coconut, candles, and the goat’s skull. In yet another incident, two decapitated chickens were found. All are assumed to be connected to “ritualistic sacrifices.”
An odd library
JSTOR Daily routinely publishes lists of related books as recommended reading on certain topics. One of the recent lists is “The Care of the Dead: A Reading List,” which is described as, “An interdisciplinary bibliography exploring the care of the dead and how our final choices are shaped by culture, religion, economics, technology, and war.” So if you’re looking to add to your must-read stack of books or beef up your trivia game with obscure facts about undertaking and disposition in 1600s England, then this is your jam.
Director, embalmer, and … bouncer?
Does your local tailor offer suits in black-and-white referee stripes? The folks at Blaney Funeral Home in Green Bay, Wisconsin might need to consider investing in whistles and yellow flags — just in case there’s a repeat of what happened at a funeral in June. Three men have been charged with disorderly conduct for a fight that started during a funeral service and evolved into a 30-person brawl. It started when one man, who a witness says arrived at the funeral home drunk, was asked to leave after “yelling things like ‘that’s a lie’ and ‘that’s not true’ and something ‘about the devil’” at the preacher. He “was yelling the whole time” as he was pushed out the door, and a fight quickly escalated outside.
Fighting the good fight
An 10-year Air Force veteran who performed mortuary services in the field during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is fighting back against Texas’ deathcare licensing regulations. Following his honorable discharge, Desaray Wilson was granted a funeral director license despite not having attended mortuary school. According to a recent report by a Baytown news outlet, “Texas Occupation Code, Chapter 55, allows his military service to satisfy the educational requirements for the license,” leaving only the requirement to pass the national board exam — which Wilson did, on his first try. However, after Wilson opened a funeral home with a fellow licensed funeral director, state authorities revoked his three-month-old license. The new outlet asked for more explanation, but the Texas Funeral Service Commission didn’t grant an interview. Documents they found, though, seem to imply that the educational requirement should not have been waived. Wilson says he will continue to fight for this waiver for military service on behalf of other veterans who are facing similar issues in other occupations across the country.
Five reasons why
ICYMI, all five seasons of HBO’s phenomenal series Six Feet Under are now streaming on Netflix — and if that’s not the best excuse to binge and chill over the holidays, we don’t know what is. If you didn’t catch this series about a grieving family running a funeral home when it first aired from 2001 to 2005 (or even if you watched every episode twice), here are five reasons to watch it in 2023, according to Thought Company:
- Its “genre-bending approach to storytelling,”
- The show’s “exploration of death and grief,”
- An “outstanding ensemble,” (including a pre-Dexter Michael C. Scott and future 911 fire chief Peter Krause),
- Its “score and soundtrack,”
- And “one of the best series finales of all time.”
No spoilers here … I’m watching it for the first time, too!
Is it wrong to think that finding a deathcare company in hot water for something other than mishandling those under their care is kind of refreshing? Not that it’s a good thing that a group of employees of an Oklahoma funeral home are claiming they were never paid overtime. The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the claims, and since this literally became a federal case, some employees have been paid … but others have not. Current owners are blaming a misunderstanding of the law by a now-deceased owner for the issue, and are using funds from his 401(k) to pay employees, some of whom are owed more than $15,000.
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!