LETTER: A funeral director explains how to limit cost of funerals

To Ozaukee Press:

For the past week I have been thinking about the letter to the editor in the April 12 issue of Ozaukee Press complaining about the high cost of funerals and must respond. 

I am a funeral director and proud of what I do. Not only is it gratifying to help those who grieve, but it makes me feel like I am doing God’s work. There is nothing else I’d rather do with my life than this.

I am sorry the letter writer lost his sister and did not feel the funeral director’s service was worth the money he paid. That is heartbreaking to me. However, not every funeral costs the $11,000 he cited. There are many variations to a funeral. In the end, it is entirely up to the family to choose what they want. A funeral could have been had for about half of that $11,000. And before anyone asks, there are zero hidden fees or costs, which would be illegal. Every option is gone over with the family and chosen by them at the time of the arrangement conference.

Everyone is entitled to have services as they wish, but should realize that they need to pay for these services. If I want a Cadillac over a Kia, the cost will be more. If I want to dine at a five-star restaurant over McDonald’s, the cost will be more.

Cremation can bring costs down by almost half. Going with a cost effective

casket and outer burial container can lower costs by the thousands. Charges that are not the funeral home’s also play into things. The church will have fees. Newspapers have fees. Flowers from the

florist cost money. All of these items can cost hundreds of dollars, and it’s all the family’s choosing. They do not have to have these third-party items.

And as for comparing today’s funeral costs to 1996, as the letter did, that’s inflation, and that is not a fair comparison. People will pay $20,000 to $30,000 for a wedding, so why is burying your loved one for far less an issue? 

Death is a certainty in life and people need to be taken care of afterward. This is why pre-funding for your funeral or a

loved one is important. Everything can be taken care of costwise beforehand,

so there is no worrying about it when the times comes. You can put money aside so that all of these things are taken care of. Don’t live for today, live for tomorrow.

When it’s all said and done, I will be there for any family, regardless of what type of services they want. I will be there for them if it’s 10 p.m. on a Friday night while my friends are out. I will be there for them if it’s Christmas morning at 7 a.m. and everyone is opening presents. I will be there for them if it’s my mom’s birthday and I am not able to see her. Rain or shine, day or night. That’s what I’m paid to do and what I choose to do for a living. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Noah Watry

Milwaukee

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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