Funeral home’s new service: A drive-thru funeral

A Saginaw, Michigan, funeral home may be onto something in our increasingly mobile society — a drive-thru funeral.

Paradise Funeral Chapel president Ivan Phillips says he came up with the idea after noting that elderly people have a difficult time getting into the funeral home, according to M.Live.

Phillips said he spent a lot of time developing the Saginaw funeral home’s drive-thru in order to respect the deceased.

It’s up to each family to decide if they want to use the window as part of a funeral viewing. For those who do, the drive-up window is only used when indoor visitation is not taking place, he said.

The viewing area can not be seen from the inside of the funeral home and the window is covered by curtains until a vehicle drives up. The curtains then open to reveal the deceased in their casket as music plays overhead.

A guestbook appears from a retractable door allowing people to record their visit and there is a slot where they can leave memorial contributions.

People in the vehicle have 3 minutes to pay their respects before the curtain closes.

One commenter points out the obvious.

“The point of going to a funeral home is to visit with and comfort the family and friends,” he said. “Seriously, some people just want to look at a corpse? That’s creepy.”

  • Bose

    I don’t mind balancing out the “creepy” concern about “looking at a corpse.”

    Life and death are never so simple, at least in my experience. If the family of the person who died has long held tensions with some of the person’s close friends, this strikes me as a reasonable option. Funerals can still be challenging for LGBT friends of those who were deeply closeted, for example. What harm comes, then, from offering a chance to say good-bye without explaining (or, more likely, offering a misleading explanation of) how you were connected.

    For those dying at advanced ages, the few remaining friends often have limited or no connections to the deceased’s younger generations. The survivors have been to the funerals of most of the folks they knew just a couple decades before. It makes sense that a bit of peace can come from a last solitary moment together and guest-book signing.

    People living with social anxiety, acquaintances with inflexible jobs, living at a distance or in poverty or in a season of just too many other funerals… none of these folks need to be written off as callous, creepy, or insensitive to the grief of the family.

  • Gayle

    History comes ’round.
    There was a time when the dearly departed were often displayed in the large parlor window of their home or in the display window for the town’s cabinet maker (who was often the undertaker and coffin maker). The Minnesota Historical Society has many fascinating stories about life in the Minnesota territory. Another interesting challenge was storage of the corpse if they died in the middle of winter and the ground was frozen, preventing their burial. Hence the phrase, “the dead of winter”.