Would you like fries with that funeral viewing?

By: Molly Gorny | Date: Tue, September 16th, 2014

Drive-thru funeral at Adams Funeral Home in Compton, CA

Drive Through Funeral

Ivan E. Phillips, Paradise Funeral Chapel, Saginaw, displays the home’s new drive-thru viewing area

There is no question that the funeral business is one that is steeped in tradition. So it’s natural that when a service such as drive-thru funeral viewings comes along we’re tempted to poke fun at it. The truth is, the concept of the drive-thru funeral viewing is not new, despite the fact that news of this type of service being offered by a funeral home in Saginaw, MI has been popping up on the newswires over the past few days.

Paradise Funeral Chapel, 3100 S. Washington, has installed a drive-thru window allowing people to drive up to pay their last respects.

Funeral home President Ivan E. Phillips said he’s had the idea for years, but an incident last year made him turn the idea into reality.

That’s when an elderly woman who was in a nursing home could not make it inside the chapel to visit her husband or attend his funeral, Phillips said.

“She would’ve got a chance to see him if we had this, so I knew we had to move forward,” Phillips said.

Read the full story: Funeral Home Offers Drive-Thru Viewing

Drive-thru funeral at Adams Funeral Home in Compton, CA

Drive-thru funeral at Adams Funeral Home in Compton, CA

One early adopter of the unique service was Junior Funeral Home in Pensacola, FL. The home closed in 2005 but it began offering drive-thru service as early as 1986. Los Angeles’ Adam’s Funeral Home has also been offering drive-thru options for some time.

The mortuary, located in Compton, claims to offer an efficient way for prominent members of the community to be viewed en masse. Elderly who have a hard time walking don’t have to leave their cars.

One possible reason for the drive-thru’s success could stem back to the 1980s, when Compton was a hotbed for gang violence. The LA Times reported that cemetery shootouts made gang members reluctant to gather for graveside services. And since the glass partition of the Robert L. Adam’s funeral parlor is bulletproof, it became a popular location for gang funerals.

Read the full story: Inside LA’s drive-thru (and bulletproof) funeral home

A Virginia funeral home, Oliver and Eggleston Funeral Establishment, began offering drive through services last year.

Eggleston said he sees the drive-thru option as something some will chose during inclement weather and that will be used by those with disabilities but he adds it won’t replace the traditional chapel service.

“You can have a regular viewing, in a regular room and then at night, if you want us to roll you over here and put you in here, we can put the person in here,” Eggleston said, as he stood beside a casket in the room.

Read the full story: Farmville Funeral Home Now Offers Drive-Thru Viewing

Funeral homes offering drive-thru services can also be found in Chicago, South Carolina and Louisiana.

It is too soon to say if the drive-thru funeral viewing will become a typical offering. Certainly, in some communities there is a need for this type of service and the industry is responding.

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