Here are some places on the Internet that we would like to share with you:
Telegram and Gazette
Worcester Telegram and Gazette
Central Mass. Agency on Aging
Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging
City of Worcester
City of Worcester
Town of West Boylston
Town of West Boylston
Frequently Asked Questions
What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body.
Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
Do you have to have a funeral director to bury the dead?
In most states, family members may bury their own dead although regulations vary. However, most people find it very trying to be solely responsible for arranging the details and legal matters surrounding a death.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.
Isn't burial space becoming scarce?
While it is true some metropolitan areas have limited available cemetery space, in most areas of the country, there is enough space set aside for the next 50 years without creating new cemeteries. In addition, land available for new cemeteries is more than adequate, especially with the increase in entombment and multi-level grave burial.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No. Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. In fact, according to FTC figures for 1987, direct cremation occurred in only 3% of deaths.
Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Yes. A person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe.
Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.
How much does a funeral cost?
n 1998, the charge for an adult, full-service funeral was $5,020. This price includes a professional service charge, transfer-of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket included in this price was an 18-gauge steel casket with velvet interior which may or may not be the most common casket chosen. Vault, cemetery, and monument charges are additional. (Source: 1999 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)
The National Funeral Directors Association has a number of resources available with funeral cost statistics and information.
Has this cost increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.
Why are funerals so expensive?
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.); these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin. The average statistics below may be helpful in assessing the true economic picture of a funeral home:
Firm in business for 63 years
167 average calls/year
BEFORE tax profit 11.3%
(Source: 1995 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, you may call 800-662-7666).
Do funeral directors take advantage of the bereaved?
Funeral directors are caring individuals who help people deal with a very stressful time. They serve the same families 80% of the time, and many have spent most of their lives in the same community. If they took advantage of bereaved families, they could not stay in business. The fact that the average funeral home has been in business over 59 years shows that most funeral directors respect the wishes of the bereaved families.
Is it right to make a profit from death?
Funeral directors look upon their profession as a service, but it is also a business. Like any business, funeral homes must make a profit to exist. As long as the profit is reasonable and the services rendered are necessary, complete, and satisfactory to the family, profit is legitimate.
Don't funeral directors mark caskets up tremendously, at least 400%?
No. Talking about the mark up on caskets is really not the point. Most items - clothing, furniture, jewelry - are marked up as much or more than caskets. The real question is whether the funeral director is making an excessive profit, and that answer is "No." Profits run around 12.5% before taxes - not excessive by any standard.
Who pays for funerals for the indigent?
Other than the family, there are veteran, union, and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from Social Security. In most states, some form of public aid allowances are available from either the state, county, or city or a combination. Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure the deceased a respectable burial.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Most Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. They will come when your time is right.
If a loved one dies out of state , can the local Funeral Home still help?
Yes, they can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another state or from another state.
So, I've decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Yes, quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. Your Funeral Home can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.
What government agencies help defray final expenses?
Usually, Funeral Directors will help gather the necessary information to apply for financial assistance from Social Security, Veteran's Affairs, retirements, and any others.
If you are someone who has to plan a funeral due to the loss of a loved one, or perhaps you are attending a service for a family member or friend, here are some explanations of terms and situations you may find yourself having to address.
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.
The Funeral Service
The type of service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire. The service, held either at a place of worship or at the funeral home with the deceased present, varies in ritual according to denomination. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgement of friendship and support. It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held.
This service is by invitation only and may be held at a place of worship, a funeral home or a family home. Usually, selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. Often public visitation is held, condolences are sent, and the body is viewed.
A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public visitations followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral home.
Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family.Honorary Pallbearers
When the deceased has been active in political, business, church or civic circles, it may be appropriate for the family to request close associates of the deceased to serve as honorary pallbearers. They do not actively carry the casket.
A eulogy may be given by a member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased. The eulogy is not to be lengthy, but should offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died.
Wearing colorful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste so as to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion.
When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives may accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. The funeral director can advise you of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.
The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family.
Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.
Mass cards can be sent either by Catholic or non-Catholic friends. The offering of prayers is a valued expression of sympathy to a Catholic family. A card indicating that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged may be obtained from any Catholic parish. In some areas it is possible to obtain Mass cards at the funeral home. The Mass offering card or envelope is given to the family as an indication of understanding, faith and compassion. Make sure that your name and address is legible and that you list your postal code. This will make it easier for the family to acknowledge your gift.
A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be appreciated as flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available, however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognized as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes. Your funeral director is familiar with them and can explain each option, as well as furnish the donor with "In Memoriam" cards, which are given to the family.
Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.
A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as "I'm sorry to learn of your personal loss" is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.
Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don't hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener. Sending a telegram expressing your sympathy is also appropriate.
Your presence at the visitation demonstrates that although someone has died, friends still remain. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care.
Visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expression of sorrow and sympathy, rather than awkwardly approaching the subject at the office, supermarket or social activities. The obituary/death notice will designate the hours of visitation when the family will be present and will also designate the times when special services such as lodge services or prayer services may be held. Persons may call at the funeral home at any time during suggested hours of the day or evening to pay respects, even though the family is not present. Friends and relatives are requested to sign the register book. A person's full name should be listed e.g. "Mrs. John Doe". If the person is a business associate, it is proper to list their affiliation as the family may not be familiar with their relationship to the deceased.
Friends should use their own judgement on how long they should remain at the funeral home or place of visitation. If they feel their presence is needed, they should offer to stay.
When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.
When a person calls at the funeral home, sympathy can be expressed by clasping hands, an embrace, or a simple statement of condolence, such as:
"My sympathy to you."
"It was good to know John."
"John was a fine person and a friend of mine. He will be missed."
"My sympathy to your mother."
The family member in return may say:"Thanks for coming."
"John talked about you often."
"I didn't realize so many people cared."
"Come see me when you can."
Encourage the bereaved to express their feelings and thoughts, but don't overwhelm them.
The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. The funeral director may have available printed acknowledgement cards which can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as:
"Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely."
"The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated."
In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this.
Children at Funerals
At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. The funeral director can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.
It is healthy to recognize death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Your local funeral director can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area.
Help a grieving friend
Be a listener
Grieving people often find they need to talk about what's happened and how they feel about it. You don't have to fix their grief or cheer them up, but you can share the load just by being there to listen.
It's all right to cry
There's no need to say "be brave" or "be strong." Crying helps emotions to be released so they won't get bottled up. To give permission for tears, anger or any other emotions will let your friend know you aren't uncomfortable with their grief.
Stay in touch
Remember that grief doesn't go away in a few short weeks. Even one year may not be long enough to adjust to changes in your life. So, a friend who calls in 3, 6, or 12 months time may be one of the few who still asks how things are going. Special days like birthdays or Christmas may be just the time to pick up the phone and say, "I was thinking of you today."
Past Obituaries and Guestbook entries
Please use this link to search our archived obituarues.
Memorials / Charities
March of Dimes
Empire Granite Company
Worcester County Memorials
Benefits are available to veterans discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable who have completed the required period of service, or U.S. Armed Forces members who die on active duty. Spouses and dependent children of eligible living and deceased veterans, and of current and deceased armed forces members, may also be eligible.
Note: The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who remarried a non-veteran prior to October 31, 1990, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce prior to or on that date is eligible for burial in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who remarried a non-veteran prior to October 31, 1990, and whose remarriage was intact on or after that date, however, is not eligible for burial in a national cemetery. A surviving spouse who remarries a non-veteran after October 31, 1990, is not eligible for burial in a national cemetery.
Burial Grave in a National Cemetery
The United States Government provides free burial in a National Cemetery to all those eligible. This includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbaria niches for the interment of cremated remains or special sections for burial of cremated remains.
Headstones and Markers
The United States Government provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans and eligible dependents anywhere in the world which are not already marked. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble and upright marble types are available to mark the grave of a veteran or dependent in the style consistent with exiting monuments at the place of burial. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria in national cemeteries used for inturnment of cremated remains.(Some cemeteries charge for marker installation.)
Burial at Sea
Burial at sea is not just a tradition that was practiced by the Navy of old. It is a means of final disposition of cremains and intact remains that is offered to and still utilized by active duty, retired, and honorable veterans of all branches of the United States military. Burial at sea services are performed while the vessel is on official maneuvers. Therefore, it is impossible for the family to be present. The family will be notified by the commanding officer of that vessel of the date time, longitude, and latitude of the committal service.
Eligibility Deceased individuals eligible for this program are members of the uniformed services, veterans discharged under honorable conditions, United States civilian marine personnel of the Military Sealift Command, and dependents of members, retirees, and veterans of the uniformed services.
Ports of Embarkation
Naval Medical Center
620 John Paul Jones Circle
Portsmouth, Virginia 23708-5100
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island 02841-5003
Naval Hospital Branch Clinic
Mayport, Florida 32228
San Diego, California
San Diego, California 92134-5000
Long Beach, California
Long Beach, California 90822-5199
San Francisco, California
Oakland, California 94627-5000
Bremerton, Washington 98312-5008
Presidential Memorial Certificate
The Presidential Memorial Certificate is a parchment with a calligraphic inscription expressing the nation's grateful recognition of the veteran's service. The veteran's name is inscribed, and the certificate bears the signature of the President and the presidential seal in gold foil.
Reimbursement of Burial Expenses
The United States Government provides a $150 burial allowance and a $300 funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at the time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility is also established when death occurs in a Veterans Administration facility or a nursing home which the Veterans Administration contracted, and additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed in those cases. Claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.
United States Burial Flag
The United States Government provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin or a close associate of the deceased.
How to Contact the Veterans Administration
Military veterans and their dependents are entitled to a variety of benefits depending on their circumstances. Contact the Veterans Affairs office to determine what benefits can he claimed and then gather the information required.
Before you can file you will need:
Certified copy of or original DD214 (Enlisted Record of Separation).
Certified copy of or original marriage certificate.
Certified copy of Death Certificate.
Verification of amount of life insurance you will receive as a result of veteran's death.
Paid receipts for funeral and cemetery expense.
Paid receipts for hospital and doctor bills incurred by last illness, if applicable.
Social Security number for yourself and your dependent children.
If the veteran or yourself was previously married:
A certified copy of or original divorce decree, or a Death Certificate proving the previous marriage was dissolved by divorce or death.
If there are dependent children:
For children under the age of 18, or over 18 and still in school, you need certified copies of original birth certificates for each.
If over 18 and still in school, you will need VA Form 21-674 filled out.
If either of you currently receive Social Security benefits:
You will need to know the exact amount received for each of you.
If you already have a VA claim number:
You must furnish the VA with the claim number you have been assigned.
If either of you receive additional income:
The source and exact amount of the benefit must be reported to the VA.
If you qualify for Social Security benefits, you should go to the Social Security office before going to the Veteran's Administration office.
Once you have all the forms and information that apply to you, call the VA office and make an appointment to file your claim.
Your VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICE Telephone Number is:
For The National Cemetery Information website go to: www.cem.va.gov
For Military History, Locator and Chat go to: www.military.com
What to do when a death occurs
What to do when a death occurs.