Bizarre, or just a sign of the
culture of our times: Drive-thru Viewing at Funeral Homes
According to an article recently
published in the LA Times, one funeral home in the Greater Los Angeles
area, offers drive-thru viewings for its customers and community.
The drive-thru involves a large glass window on the side of the funeral
home, where the recently deceased can be laid out in all their grandeur,
for all and sundry to view.
|The funeral industry, that
has often been criticized for being something of a ‘dinosaur’, is certainly
now demonstrating some assimilation of modern cultural trends. The
introduction by some funeral homes of web-casting of funeral services,
was viewed by many as a rather morbid assimilation of modern technology
and the rather stoic profession of funeral directors.
Now it seems another monolith
of modernity – the drive-thru – is being embraced by some within the funeral
industry. The ‘drive-thru’ is something synonymous with convenience, allowing
us to access goods and services, with minimal effort and deviation.
So how can the drive-thru work for the funeral industry?
Adams Mortuary in Compton
introduced the glass-encased viewing chamber as a means to enable their
community to view those they had lost en masse, and believed it was a step
forward from the webcam view of a viewing.
This drive-thru viewing chamber
is believed to be the only one of its kind in Southern California, although
similar chambers exist in Chicago and Louisiana. The mortuary believe
it offers people who would not feel comfortable attending the funeral,
or even entering a funeral home, the option to pay their last respects.
There is another more sinister
reason behind the glass chamber viewing room. The gang shoot-outs
at funerals in the 1980’s led to a fear by many of attending graveside
services to pay their last respects. And the glass at Adams Mortuary
is reported to be bullet-proof, not that the mortuary claim this is relevant
to their community viewings today.
Needless to say, in a culture
where being able to view a deceased to pay those final respects is important
and symbolic, this drive-thru option is surely a way to enable a more shared
and accessible service.
It may not be for everyone,
and I am sure it will not become a popular trend, but the drive-thru viewing
surely has its place in modern deathcare culture.
Drive thru Funeral of a ‘fast
Drive-thru funerals hit the
news again this weekend. This time the nature of the drive-thru funeral
was to personalize a funeral service to commemorate the memory of the deceased.
In Pennsylvania David Kime Jr. was known for his love of ‘Big Whoppers’
and his family opted to give him a last drive-thru visit.
The funeral procession passed
through the drive-thru and 40 burgers were served up to the funeral party.
As Kime’s casket was lowered, his final burger was placed on top of it.
This kind of drive-thru funeral
puts a whole new connotation on the drive-thru viewing aspect of funerals,
but this story certainly highlights how customization is becoming an intrinsic
component of death care rituals today.
The recent reality television
program ‘Best Funeral Ever’ has maybe helped to inspire the imagination
of many Americans about just what kind of ritual they can plan for their
One thing is certain, we
are likely to see more of the bizarre and extraordinary emerge, as we chose
to personalize our funeral rituals.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
Times - Paying their respects outside funeral home
man gets drive-thru funeral procession
Last Revised: 01/29/2013