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The Difference 100 Years Has Made in American Funerals January 5, 2018

100 years cover

Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory has a long history of serving Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area families. John J. Radel started in the funeral service in 1878. In the over 100 years since we have grown and changed with the times. We were one of the first funeral homes in the country to use motorized vehicles in our funeral services. Today, we operate Greater Cincinnati’s only privately owned crematorium.

Funeral services have changed dramatically over the years. We thought it would be interesting to take a look back at some of the differences in American funerals over the past 100 years.

  • A Move Toward Celebration. Funerals of 100 years ago were steeped in religious traditions and were very dark, sorrowful events. Mourners often dressed in all black. One of the significant changes we have seen recently is that funerals have become more of a celebration of the life of a loved one. This is not to say, of course, that today’s funerals aren’t filled with sadness. There is a movement, however, toward services that are lighter and less sorrowful.
  • A Wide Acceptance of Cremations. Cremations have become widely accepted, especially in the last 50 years. In 1960, less than 4% of services included cremation. It is projected that by 2020, that number will reach 55%. Much of this growth is attributed to the lifting of religious taboos surrounding cremation and the fact that cremation is an affordable alternative.
  • Furniture Makers as Undertakers. In the early 1900’s, it was common for many furniture makers to become undertakers because of their woodworking skills. At that time, it was also common for services to be held in the home of the deceased or a family member of the deceased. Many homes were built with “parlors” with this purpose in mind.
  • Pre-Planning was Non-Existent. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that people began to see the wisdom in pre-planning a funeral. Today, it is more common than ever. Pre-planning allows a person to have more say in how they want their funeral to transpire and even whether they prefer to have a traditional funeral or a cremation. Pre-planning doesn’t always have to mean “pre-paying”. Contact us for details on how you can pre-plan your funeral.
  • Obituaries. Another significant area of change over the past 100 years is in how we hear about the death of a loved one. In small towns, obituary notices were often posted at a local business or gathering place in the town. Newspaper obituaries originally carried basic funeral and family information. Today’s obituaries often include details about a deceased’s hobbies and passions and some are even written with humor.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes & Crematory we can create a service that is dignified and comfortable for your family. We will even come to you. Contact us in your time of need.

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