People picture very specific things when they think about undertakers and morticians because these names sustain negative stereotypes of the professionals that own and work in funeral homes in Monroeville, PA and the rest of the country. Where did these names come from? And what are you supposed to call funeral professionals?
There is a very specific image that comes to mind when people hear the word “undertaker” or “mortician”. Do you picture a creepy man in a black suit standing by an open casket in a dark funeral home? You’re not the only one that does that, even though those images aren’t correct anymore.
The names undertaker and mortician are antiquated. However, they are pretty much synonymous with the title of funeral director even though the term funeral director really didn’t start taking hold until the early 1900s when industry professionals actively set out to change their name from undertaker to something new.
Funeral Director is the most modern, and correct, term for a professional in the industry. A funeral director is a funeral or cremation professional that helps arrange, plan and coordinate a funeral or cremation services. Funeral directors are hardworking, thoroughly trained, and committed professionals. Funeral directors have to be licensed according to local laws. This is especially true in states where the funeral director is legally responsible for making sure the crematory or funeral home is complying with all health, mortuary, and vital statistic laws of the area. They perform a lot of services from funerals and visitations to memorials and wakes, as well as helping prepare the body for a funeral or cremation, including placing the body in the casket or cremation container.
An embalmer, on the other hand, is the funeral professional that is responsible for making sure the body is ready for burial. As the name denotes, embalmers perform the act of embalming, meaning they remove all body fluids and replace them with embalming liquid to slow down the body’s decomposition for a funeral service. In most states funeral directors and embalmers require different licenses and training courses. However, it is common for some people to be both depending on their professional interests, their business models, or local ordinances.
While none of the terms are technically incorrect, its generally accepted that funeral director is the preferred title as it is the most modern and gives the respect due for these hardworking professionals. The next time you’re in a funeral home for a service or are making plans for a loved one’s recent passing, you will know what to call the industry professional that is helping you.
This is just the beginning when it comes to interesting and helpful funeral information. Want to learn more? Just reach out to Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. We offer many different Monroeville, PA funeral home services, and have years of experience from which we can offer expert advice. Please visit us or give us a call today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss.