The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Funeral stories, Part I

After Grandpa’s funeral service, the lengthy procession of cars left Bethany Lutheran Church headed for St. Peter’s Cemetery. Led by limousines and the hearse, we passed another funeral home, which was just escorting its cars of mourners onto the road in the same direction but bound for Bethlehem Cemetery. Many of those people got into Grandpa’s line by mistake, while some of our family and friends also went to the wrong cemetery. When we arrived at Grandpa’s grave site total strangers began getting out of their cars. ... I was 8 years old in 1945 when my Grandpa died. He was a jolly, fun-loving fellow who laughed heartily and often. He would have roared at what happened at his funeral procession.

Ruth W. Rangel
Chesterfield, Mo.

“That’s the remote control he’s holding.
“That’s the remote control he’s holding. He could never rest in peace without it.”
While discussing when to have our father’s funeral, my brother, John, suggested we hold it on Tuesday because it was a “dead day.” We all broke out laughing, a welcome beginning to the days of remembrance for my dad.

Christine Howard
Arcadia, Wis.

As we stood around the casket before my wife’s funeral at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Austin, Texas, my 5-year-old grandson, David, asked my daughter, “Mom, why did they put that old blue dress on Grandmother?” My daughter explained how people are often buried in clothing they liked to wear. After a few more minutes, David asked, “Does that mean we’ll have to bury Granddaddy in those red shorts with the gray stripes?”

David N. Smith
Austin, Texas

“What’s your mother’s maiden name?�?
“What’s your mother’s maiden name?”
Several people got up to reminisce at our grandfather’s funeral. A few were long-winded, and the funeral was getting lengthy. When one gentleman paused in his speech, our 2-year-old, Jennifer, said loudly, “Amen!” My husband and I were horrified until Grandma turned around in the pew in front of us and said, “That’s right, Jenny, ‘Amen’ already.”

Lorraine Jordan
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The deceased isn’t the only dead

My late husband, Roger McAbee, had a funeral in Iola, Wis. He was shocked when the funeral director asked him if he could preach longer than usual. The director explained, “The hearse died.” The battery needed time to charge. The hearse finally started and wasn’t shut off during the committal.

Sue Ann McAbee
Stevens Point, Wis.

I met the funeral director and the hearse at the entrance to a rather large metropolitan cemetery in Philadelphia. As we began to move to the grave site, the hearse wouldn’t start and needed a jump-start. What a scene to see the “resuscitation of the hearse.”

David S. Schafer
Westminster, Md.




Posted at 5:50 pm (U.S. Eastern) 11/4/2007

I've told my four sons that they should take advantage of my memorial service to tell all their "mother stories."  I'm sure one of them will echo their brother's remarks at our 50th wedding anniversary.  He told all present that he and his brothers were the cause of us lasting 50 years together.  In most divorces there are fights for custody of the children, but he said we stayed together because neither of us wanted the children without the other there to help out.  Then someone will bring up the "burnt offerings" - mother's version of grilled cheese sandwiches.  Their stories should certaihly lighten the occasion. 

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Embracing diversity