Trusted Friend, Advocate, Concierge: Redefining the Role of a Funeral Director

by Amy L. Silva Rigtrup

For 6 years now, my husband has been proudly wearing a pin on his jacket that says, "I Love My Funeral Director". Mostly, he enjoys the reactions and the double takes he gets from people and always has his line ready, "I have to love mine - she's my wife". But the comment he hears most is that people say that they don't even know their funeral director or have never even met one.

Part of why I do this show, beyond educating about this industry in general, is to share the things that I love about being part of it. One of the things I love most is meeting, working with and getting to know other funeral directors. I love hearing the different reasons people were "called" to this business and learning different ways things are done. We are all such unique characters but we share a common thread. We are amazingly passionate, caring, creative, and relatable people. If you find yourself at a party with a funeral director, I promise you'll find some remarkable conversation.

On this week's episode of The Silva Lining, I brought together my first "Funeral Director Round Table" and was honored to have gathered three wonderful local funeral directors for some great conversation. We talked about the reasons we each got into the business, (my "calling" was shared back in my first show HERE), ways that we as funeral directors actually work together and see ourselves as colleagues rather than competitors, some ways we've noticed changes in the industry and our thoughts on redefining what it is that we do.

My guests were Deborah Almeida, 2nd generation funeral director at A.F. Almeida Funeral Home in Fall River and Pocasset-Memorial Funeral Home in Tiverton,RI. Kim Smith is a Senior Service Counselor and Managing Director of Advanced Planning for the Waring-Sullivan Homes of Memorial Tribute serving Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Michael Roberts, Funeral Director at Hathaway Family Funeral Homes in Fall River, Somerset, Taunton, New Bedford, Fairhaven and Attleboro.

This show is definitely worth a listen. Some changes are evident by just reading the roster. If you told my grandfather that his granddaughter would simply be a funeral director in a room with two female funeral directors and one male funeral director he just wouldn't have believed it. The discussion also led us to how we feel our roles should be redefined. We strive with every ounce of our being, fueled by incredible teams of staff supporting us, to become that trusted friend, advocate and concierge to each and every family we serve in their time of need.

So do you know your funeral director? I say, introduce yourself. Come across one, spark a conversation and ask them why the came into the business, ask them about the most unique service they've planned. Look around at your next community event and notice the support that comes from funeral directors that may not be standing out in black suits on a golf course, city park clean up, or 5k fundraiser.

You may just find that you love you funeral director too.

The Silva Lining is thankful for our wonderful sponsor:

St. Anthony of Padua Credit Union - We are proud to be sponsored by such an incredible bank, that in an age of conglomerate banks treating people like numbers, maintains a relationship with its members based on trust, friendly service and loyalty. With competitive rates for savings accounts and various loans, St. Anthony of Padua can handle all of your financial needs. Convenient online banking and more information at