Sunday, Oct 05, 2003: “Series on Death and Dying: #4”

St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary

“Series on Death and Dying: #4”

Coordinated and Led by Rev. Deacon George Snyder

Sunday, October 5, 2003

George introduced Mr. Rick Kaufold, funeral director for Newcomer Farley Funeral Homes & Crematory. First explanations of funeral director, mortician, and embalmer were given. Rick is strictly a funeral director and not an embalmer. His principal job is to help people plan for their funeral arrangements. He noted that it can be much easier for the family if planning and choices are done up front. He then passed out a handout entitled “Helpful Tips on Funeral Planning,” which served as the basis for his presentation. Newcomer Farley Funeral Home was initially established in Dayton, Ohio as a lower cost alternative to some of the other funeral homes that were already established. It was noted that on average, the costs of funerals in Dayton were among the highest in the country.

The importance of planning was stressed. Funerals can be a very large event for a family, and as such, should be done with careful planning. Typically there are up to eighty decisions that have to be made over a period of three to five days if there is no pre-planning. Rick explained that there are four main steps to advance funeral planning: a) vital statistics, b) ceremony options, c) casket, burial vault, urn, and d) payment options. Rick also noted that the Death Planning Document which George helped to prepare (and can be downloaded from our web site or obtained directly from the church office) was an excellent document and very complete. It actually had more information than was necessary than for just the funeral arrangements.

The vital statistics include such things as: social security number, mother’s maiden name, birthplace and date, doctor’s name, lodges and memberships, work history, military history, etc. Ceremony options include funeral options (chapel service, church service, and graveside service) or cremation options (chapel service, church service, graveside service). The services can be very personalized. Rick gave an example of a person who had a motorcycle brought into the funeral home by the casket. There are many options available including custom interiors, memory boards, scripture/music, flowers, military options, etc. Casket, urn, and vault options also have to be considered. Caskets may be either wood or metal (steel, stainless steel, copper, or bronze). Similarly, urns may be of like materials or they may be incorporated into a sculpture. Vaults may be metal or concrete. Concrete types tend to be top seal (base with sides which has seal on top). Metal types tend to be air seal (floor with five sided box that seals to floor and by being inverted traps air inside). Grave liners can also be used, but are not sealed. Finally, Rick discussed various pre-payment options. There are varieties of plans and payment options for all ages and health situations. The funds can qualify as an exemption for Medicaid. This means that if you are in a nursing home and must pay from personal assets, any monies set aside for the funeral does not have to be included. The state regulates the funeral industry. Any pre-payments made are placed in a trust and can be recovered if you change your mind, move, etc.

George and the other attendees thanked Rick for the excellent overview in regards to funeral planning.