Content here represents the voice of SIGNATURE SUNSETS, an informational initiative designed to broaden and brighten horizons in the funerary domain.

The material is an outgrowth of a pre-planning reference book, Pondering Leaves: Composing and Conveying Your Life Story's Epilogue, written by the author of this blog.


Thursday, November 28, 2013




Upon walking into the Coyle Funeral Home, one can spot a number of funeral directors hanging on the wall.  That is, portraits of the founder and individuals who followed in his footsteps depict a lineage of operators of this establishment. The chronological, eightfold familial line-up speaks to the current milestone that’s being recognized and celebrated:  2013 marks their 125th year of funeral service.

So what have the inspired operators of this funeral home done to proclaim their longevity?  After a celebratory wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres affair attended by 300 people, they launched a contest!   If you happen to pass through Toledo and notice someone wearing a green T-shirt with an emblazoned declaration that “I Put the FUN in FUNERALS,” you can assume you’ve encountered one of the monthly winners. 

You might think to yourself… You lucky stiff!  Gee, I wish I could wear one of those.  Well, you could be the next winner, but you’d need to act promptly before the contest ends in December.  All you have to do is recall your most humorous funeral experience, write a synopsis describing the circumstances, submit it, and then wait for the phone call or email notification that yours was the entry that caused staff to almost die laughing. 

Then it will be time to make room in your drawers for that new T-shirt and prepare to utilize a restaurant gift card… compliments of the funeral home. 

But, wait!  That’s not the end of it!  At the conclusion of the contest a grand prizewinner will be chosen from the cadre of monthly essay champions.  That person will not only be wearing green, but will be seeing green as well!  Besides some fun fluff – a special occasion for two with a night on the town (dinner and a movie) via a chauffeured funeral limousine – the recipient will be awarded a free funeral!  The “free” part of the prize depends on how lavish that individual’s end-of-life arrangements will be.  More definitively, the prize is up to $5,000. toward the cost of funeral provisions. 

This essay contest exemplifies an outlook of the folks here who deal with death on a daily basis.  It is that moments of levity conveyed respectfully can help to alleviate the prospect of excruciating bereavement stress.  One doesn’t usually equate an attitude of humor with funeral homes.  But maybe this creative twist will help people overcome perceptions of dreariness and recognize the lighter side of funeral providers. 

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