Operation of a funeral home, Who and What It Takes

Posted on February 11, 2017 by MayFuneral under Blog Posts, Uncategorized
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Operation of a funeral home, Who and What It Takes

People most often think of a funeral home in the event that a family member or relative has passed away. Rarely does it come up for any other reason. Who wants to think about death? Tragically, some people must think about it for a living. One particular job that I will discuss is that of a funeral director. These individuals carry out many of the day to day operations conducted within a funeral home.

A funeral director is referred to in three ways; mortician, undertaker, and of course, a funeral director. A lot of what goes into being a funeral director is just what you’d expect; your job is to counsel families to help them cope with their loss, to make funeral arrangements for the main service such as identifying appropriate officials for religious rites, to prepare for the burial or cremation of the individual, to file all legal documents and all other death certificates, and to train incoming staff to operate the funeral home. When the responsibilities are laid out in this way, becoming a funeral director sounds like any ordinary job. However, it’s what goes into each of these steps that leaves people with discontent.

Many times it’s not the process of burial and cremation itself that irks the individuals who carry out these tasks, it’s the status of the deceased. Old people aren’t the only ones being buried. In the loss of a child, funeral arrangements must also be made. If you think that is bad, imagine caring for the body of someone you know. Often times funeral directors receive calls from family and friends asking for assistance and counsel in the event of death.

Funeral directors always have to be on call and to operate a funeral home often means being open 24 hours. Processing the deceased can’t wait and funeral directors and other staff need to be prepared to make funeral arrangements and carry out other tasks directly after they receive a call from a family in need of assistance. The process of cremation or burial varies in length in time depending on the physical condition of the body or any medicine the individual had been taking in the days leading up to their death.

Don’t allow yourself to believe that funeral directors are boring and unpleasant individuals. In order to be successful in the funeral home industry you have to carry a lot of people-skills to launch your business and attract more clients. Families are often looking for compassion and sensitivity, because for most of them, it’s a time of great loss and suffering. Making funeral arrangements for these families can be a long, arduous process, so interpersonal skills are necessary to keep a pleasant atmosphere when gathering these affairs.

In order for a funeral home to operate, it not only has to make proper funeral arrangements in the form of filing legal documents and performing the main service, but as you’ve learned, it must also respond to loss in a caring, compassionate manner to ease the long, tiring process that comes with death.


May & Son funeral home has helped families and loved ones through the grieving process for more than a century. We have locations in Columbia, Boonville, Sedalia and serve the Fayette Missouri area. To find out about how to plan ahead, contact us today.


The funeral business that became H.T. May & Son was founded in Boonville in 1911 by Riley Martin; great-great uncle of Tom May. Following the death of Riley Martin, his nephew; Holwell J. May took over the reins of the business and continued to operate it until his death in 1974. After the death of Holwell, his son H.T. May began to run the business. When H.T. died in 2005, son Thomas E. May began to run the business and is now the fourth generation to operate May Funeral Homes. The newest location, in Columbia, opened in April 2009. Thomas, was married in November 19 of 2011 to Pastor Jennifer Baker. Jennifer is a pre-need specialist for the business and currently pursing her funeral directors license. Thomas also has two sisters; Kathryn May who is a licensed funeral director and Melodia Whitmore. Thomas has three children; Holwell J. May II, who graduated from KCKCC with his Mortuary Science Degree, and is now a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, Brittany N. May, and Jeremiah Baker. May and staff are are dedicated to serving families from all ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs in a personalized manner, with knowledgeable, caring, and professional staff.

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