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Guide to Funeral Homes

What is a Funeral Program?

The funeral program is the printed instrument used by funeral homes & funeral directors that communicate the highlights and life achievements of a decease person. The memorial program is prepared from the collection of data retrieved by the bereaved family. Here we will examine the most important parts of a funeral program.

The Program Layout
The funeral program consists of four main sections. The first section of the memorial program is the cover or main tribute page. Here you will list the full legal name of the decease including nicknames shown in (parenthesis).
Date of birth and date of death should also be highlighted on the front cover of the program. The date and time of the funeral services should also be included along with the location of the funeral service. It’s important to have these dates correctly noted on the program as they communicate vital information about the decease. In many cases employers will accept the funeral program as proof of attending a funeral or memorial service.
You may also personalize the cover of the funeral program with a photo of the decease, a famous saying or a biblical verse.

Order of Service
The next section of the funeral program is the order of service and or funeral rites. In many cultures there is a variety of different customs associated with death. Many of them are connected with the transition of the soul, and laying the soul of the decease finally to rest. You may want to contact the Officiating Minister, Eulogist or Pastor for the outline of the order of service. The funeral home may also be a good source of information for an outline for a order of service.

The order of service provides a time where family and friends can participate in a combined activity of remembrance for the deceased. A typical Order of Service will include: Opening Prayer by the Officiating Minister, Musical Selections, the Eulogy, Obituary Reading, Poem Tributes, Acknowledgments Cards & Condolences, Remarks & Interment (Burial Location). During the funeral or memorial service there may be a section where the funeral director displays a final viewing of the decease.

The Written Obituary
In this section of the funeral program the deceases life is highlighted in a biography listing all the achievements and accomplishments that he/she made in life. It is also a known tradition to include personal information about the decease such as the city and state he/she was born, education, work history, special interests and hobbies, associations of local an national organizations, volunteer work and military ranking & credentials. It’s a great idea to highlight the spouse and the immediate family of the decease, recognizing them during publicly during the funeral services.

All of the information that is included in the obituary should be double checked for accuracy in the dates, times and places of events. You can contact other family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and former employers to verify most information.

Listing the Survivor Members
The survivors of the deceased should be listed starting with the immediate family such as mother, father, sisters and brothers. Then expand the family list by including: aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, grand parents and grand children. It is also customary to include predeceased family members in the obituary. The main reason for including predeceased family members is genealogy. Genealogy is the study and tracing of family pedigrees. This involves the collection of the names of relatives, both living and deceased, and establishing the relationships among them based on primary, secondary and/or circumstantial evidence or documentation, thus building up a cohesive family tree.

Reverse Cover
The final section of the funeral program includes: a Tribute Poem, Pall Bearers, Flower Bearers, Acknowledgments and Funeral Home Arrangements.

The tribute poem should somehow reflect on the life of the decease. There are many funeral poems available on the Internet or you may ask the funeral director to assist you in finding a suitable poem.

The pall bearers are the selected gentlemen that assist in carrying the casket. The flower bearers are the selected women that assist in carrying the flowers. Both should be recorded in the funeral program by name, as it is an act of recognition and honor to the decease.

The family acknowledgment is a short thank you from the family.
Here is an example Family Acknowledgment:

The Jackson family wishes to acknowledge with deep appreciation
the many expressions of love, concern and kindness shown
to them during this hour of bereavement.
May God Bless and Keep You!

The funeral home final arrangements is documented by listing the funeral home and funeral directors who performed professional services. It is always a good idea to document the professional services of the funeral home and funeral director. It is a kind gesture that simply states that the care of your loved one was entrusted to the funeral home of your choice.

In every case the funeral program should reflect the precious memories and life highlights of the deceased. It should be treated as a document of high importance. Funeral programs provide a great source of documented information about the decease and family history. The funeral program is the most widely used keepsake that is distributed at the funeral. Funeral programs are kept in the family by the family for many years.

Link #2: Writing an obituary