Obituaries

Vernon Chapman
B: 1934-12-16
D: 2017-10-19
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Chapman, Vernon
Tom Phillips
B: 1935-09-04
D: 2017-10-19
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Phillips, Tom
Richard Stone
B: 1945-04-05
D: 2017-10-17
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Stone, Richard
Edna Allman
B: 1938-09-28
D: 2017-10-17
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Allman, Edna
Walter Smith
B: 1930-06-12
D: 2017-10-17
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Smith, Walter
Mark Jacob
B: 1959-10-12
D: 2017-10-17
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Jacob, Mark
Audrey Lunsford-Ray
B: 1927-04-22
D: 2017-10-14
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Lunsford-Ray, Audrey
Lou Cody
B: 1934-08-29
D: 2017-10-12
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Cody, Lou
John Fluty
B: 1936-07-08
D: 2017-10-09
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Fluty, John
Helen Ward
B: 1926-09-20
D: 2017-10-06
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Ward, Helen
Faye Lloyd
B: 1935-05-19
D: 2017-10-06
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Lloyd, Faye
Richard Deweese
B: 1939-08-10
D: 2017-10-06
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Deweese, Richard
Blanche Norton
B: 1934-12-25
D: 2017-10-05
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Norton, Blanche
Annie Shores
B: 1921-08-05
D: 2017-10-05
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Shores, Annie
Doris Honeycutt
B: 1931-04-12
D: 2017-10-05
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Honeycutt, Doris
Betty Ricker
B: 1955-08-17
D: 2017-10-05
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Ricker, Betty
Larry Gardner
B: 1960-06-22
D: 2017-10-04
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Gardner, Larry
Russell Rogers
B: 1939-05-02
D: 2017-09-30
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Rogers, Russell
Robert Chapman
B: 1926-08-03
D: 2017-09-27
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Chapman, Robert
George Brown
B: 1923-01-23
D: 2017-09-23
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Brown, George
Jennie Smith
B: 1925-08-15
D: 2017-09-22
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Smith, Jennie

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7626 Highway 213
PO Box 27
Mars Hill, NC 28754
Phone: 828-680-9963
Fax: 828-680-9965

What is a Funeral Service and Why Have a Funeral?

what is a funeral service and why have a funeral candles and flowers imageAll we need to do is say the word "funeral" and within microseconds, you have an image in your mind of what a funeral looks like. This mental image comes from many sources: the geographical place, culture and society in which we live; our faith; our life experience. Obviously then, a funeral service in Borneo would look very different from one held in Tanzania; there are even significant differences between the funerals held in ethnically and/or geographically diverse regions of North America.

Yet, despite the differences, these funeral services have much in common. We invite you to read further to learn the really simple answer to the question "what is a funeral?" Should you have questions about what you read here, we encourage you to call us at 828-680-9963. One of our funeral professionals will be delighted to explore the commonalities behind the wide spectrum of funeral ceremonies seen around the world.

What is a Funeral?

No matter where it's held, a funeral is a structured ceremony, with a beginning, middle and end. Each is intended to engage the living participants in activities which will transform their status within the community, provide mourners with a collective grieving experience, and celebrate a life lived. It's a socially-acceptable way for members of a community to re-affirm and express their social attachments.

Anthropologists label a funeral as a rite of passage, which affects everyone involved–including the deceased. His or her social status changes dramatically, from a living contributing member of the community to one whose contributions are in the past, and relegated to memory. But the status of each of the survivors– the immediate family most especially– has also changed. In fact, the funeral service can be the start of a defined period of mourning for bereaved family members, marking this transition in a uniquely identifiable way. 

Traditional funeral services include:

  • Visitation: This is often called a viewing or a wake. Guests come to pay their respects to the deceased by viewing their casketed body and spending time with the grieving family. A visitation can occur at any time before the funeral service.
  • Funeral Service: This event commonly takes place at the funeral home, a church, or at the graveside. It can include music, the reading of literary or religious passages, a eulogy, prayer, and the singing of hymns.
  • Committal Service: If the family plans to bury the deceased, this stage involves the vehicle procession to the cemetery, the committal service and the placement of the casket in the vault for the burial of the remains.

A funeral service, whether traditional or more modern (memorial service or celebration-of-life), has two functions: to acknowledge the death and lifetime achievements of an individual and to bring grieving family members and friends together in support of one another during this difficult time.

Why Have a Funeral?

It could be said then, the focus of a funeral - no matter where, no matter when - lies in acknowledging change. And without doubt, human beings (as individuals and as a community) have trouble dealing with profound changes like the death of an integral member of the group. When you take this perspective, it becomes easier to understand the importance of ceremonially acknowledging the tear in the social fabric and the symbolic restoration of its integrity.

Types of Funeral Services

For families and individuals living in this region (as elsewhere in the nation), a funeral service can mean many things. Some fall back on what is commonly called a "traditional funeral"; others see that same traditional service as an emotionally unfulfilling event. Fortunately, thanks to a number of unique social forces, there are other types of funeral services. Today, end-of-life commemorative services range from the traditional funeral, to a memorial service and the increasingly popular celebration of life. If you have yet to realize the immense value of such a collective acknowledgement of loss, reach out to us. Call 828-680-9963 to speak with one of our experienced funeral service professionals.


Sources:  
Huntington, Richard and Peter Metcalf, Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual, Cambridge University Press, 1979.

Rostad, Curtis, "The Basics of Funeral Service", Indiana Funeral Directors Association, 2014

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