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What Does a Funeral Director Do?

May 1, 2023

One of the most mysterious jobs in our communities may be that of a funeral director. You may wonder, “What exactly does a funeral director do?” Every funeral director’s responsibilities center around helping families honor their loved ones when they pass from this life. However, each funeral director’s services list is unique and individual. In this blog we would like to share some of the common services performed by funeral directors.

Funeral Directors are Good Listeners

Yes, funeral home directors take care of the deceased, but they spend considerably more time with the living. Every family they meet has stories to share. And it is the joy of funeral home directors to help people honor their loved ones in the most memorable way possible.

Funeral Directors are Grief Counselors

A good funeral director knows how to comfort and encourage families who grieve. Counseling those dealing with loss takes patience and requires wisdom. Therefore, these are important character qualities for a funeral director. And the many meetings with varied families, faiths, and traditions better equip them to help families they will meet in the future.

Every family and every death situation are unique. Some people meet to celebrate a life well-lived. Others collide like ocean breakers when trying to choose funeral details. Sometimes a funeral director welcomes a family who is stumbling around in a fog of grief, stunned by tragedy and at a loss as to how to say good-bye. The family’s comfort and support are of supreme importance.

Funeral Directors Help with After-Death and Funeral Arrangements

Funeral directors excel at maneuvering the trappings that accompany death. They want to help people navigate the details, known and unknown, that need to be taken care of in a timely manner when someone dies.

In a respectful and professional manner, funeral directors help families know what to do, when to do it, how to make choices from many available options, who to contact, and how to find ideas to help them honor their loved one in a meaningful and personal way.

Here are few common practices of a funeral director:

  • arranging transportation of the body to the funeral home
  • securing a burial permit
  • delegating tasks to trusted assistants
  • arranging payment processes
  • notifying newspapers of obituary postings
  • dealing with death certificates
  • preparing the body of the deceased
  • arranging burials and cremations
  • providing valuable contacts, such as florists, for families
  • facilitating music for services
  • making arrangements with clergy members
  • helping to create a video slide presentation
  • compiling a keepsake-worthy funeral folder
  • comforting grieving family and friends
  • creating a warm, comforting atmosphere in the funeral home
  • overseeing wakes, visitations, funerals, and burials

As you can see, a funeral director wears many hats The list above cover only a fraction of what most funeral directors do. Most funeral directors look at their job as a sacred vocation, committed to helping grieving families, with the best of their abilities, during times of loss.

Funeral Directors Face Unique Challenges

One of the biggest challenges for a funeral director is an unpredictable schedule. They understand that unpredictability comes with the job; yet, it can be hard on directors and their families to not be able to plan ahead and occasionally miss special family events.

Funeral directors can also struggle under the weight of so much sorrow. They genuinely care about their clients, so it can be wearing to see death and grief almost constantly. However, their job is also very rewarding, because they get a front seat view of the legacies of lives well lived.

Funeral directors appreciate families who are gracious in their grief. Sometimes funeral directors meet with angry, disagreeable clients. They patiently prepare to face the unexpected. Funeral directors are ready to meet families wherever they are in their grief. And, they desire to graciously help them move through and forward to a hopeful future.

As always, we are here for you. If you have any questions or would like to check out other articles on our website, please visit Keohane Funeral Homes online at or call us at 617-773-3551.


Elle Jones

09/12/2023 at 6:01 pm

You made a great point about how funeral directors assist families in deciding what to do when to do it, how to choose from a variety of possibilities, who to call, and how to come up with creative ways to pay tribute to their loved one. Because Mom is in charge of making plans for Grandma's funeral, she may use your advice. When she returns home from the hospital tonight, I'll give her a copy of this piece you wrote. I'm appreciative of this.

William G Joyce

06/08/2023 at 9:15 pm

I would like to thank Keohane Funeral Services during our time of grieving. Your staff was outstanding. Kathy Kane walked us through all details and she was hands on especially during the funeral. Ken McPhee, our driver in the limousine, was friendly, professional and understanding. The rest of the staff was also so professional, knowledgeable and nurturing. Job well done. Thank you. Your staff was all the difference on how our service went today.

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