Eric Weerts: Being a funeral director is a calling to serve

Published 8:52 am Monday, January 26, 2015

By Eric Weerts

Mondays with the Mortician

Sir William Gladstone, retired teacher and officer of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom said it best, “Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.” I have been a licensed funeral director in South Dakota, Ohio, Minnesota and a student of Mortuary Science in Illinois.



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I have seen many different ways that families express the grief they feel when a loved one has died. Death brings out a different side of everyone. However one thing is certain, there is an individual present that brings all parties together for the final memories of a loved one, that person is a funeral director.

At social gatherings, someone inevitably asks me, “How did you get interested in being a funeral director?” My reply is always the same. “When I was in high school, my English teacher asked me to write a research paper on a topic that I had very little knowledge about. I recently attended a funeral and decided I was going to write about funerals. I interviewed my local, hometown funeral director and was amazed by the process, the attention to detail, and the compassion that was shown to families at a difficult time in their lives.”

I worked for a funeral home while I attended college. I worked visitations and assisted with funerals in between lectures and exams. I enjoyed assisting families about all the small details about the funeral for their loved one. That was when I knew I wanted to follow the career of a person who dedicates their life to a very special type of service, a funeral director.

Being a funeral director is a calling to serve. Serving the families of a person who has passed on is a tremendous honor to me and my colleagues. We are asked to step in and guide a family through a very difficult time in their lives. We work long hours away from our own families to serve the families of another. The families we serve trust us to help them through the entire funeral process. We are the experts in death care. Serving our fellow community members during their time of grief is vital to the well-being of each individual, as well as our society as a whole.

Eric Weerts is the funeral director at Mayer Funeral Home.