Funeral Terminology

By: Tom Gallagher
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Funeral directors and other professionals in the industry utilize various terms and idiom that may be pretty unfamiliar to individuals that aren’t part of the industry. The experts at Nutmeg State Cremation Society have created a list of these different terms and what they mean:

  • Funeral Director – A licensed, certified and trained professional who plans & supervises cremations or burials.
  • Funeral Assistant – Non-certified professional who assists the mortician/ funeral director and isn’t certified.
  • Embalmer – Handles task of disinfecting & preserving the decedent’s remains.
  • Medical Examiner – A professional that handles an autopsy if needed.
  • Coroner – The government official that investigates what the cause of death is in case a physician isn’t present when the person breathed his/her last.
  • Pallbearers - The family & friends of the deceased person that carry the casket. Some funeral homes also provide these services.
  • Bereavement/grief counselor – A professional who is trained to counsel families and friends of the deceased- this helps them cope with the demise of their loved one.
  • Certified crematory operator - A professional that has the training, certification and licensing to operate a crematory.
  • Preplan advisor - Professional that helps people plan their own funeral in advance.
  • Arrangement conference - Meeting between the client and the funeral director to make the needed funeral arrangements.
  • Cortege - Funeral procession.
  • Committal service - The section of the service where the deceased is cremated, interred, or entombed.
  • Eulogy - A speech in honor of the decedent generally given by a loved one.
  • Cosmetology – Applying makeup to the decedent to make him/her presentable for the service.
  • First Call - When the decedent’s body is collected by the funeral director. 

If you have any questions about funeral terminology or funeral services, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to answer or provide direction to you.

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