Funeral Home Director

April 21, 2010
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Claudette Z. runs a funeral home in Willow Springs, IL. She is a very hard-working woman who loves travelling and seeing new places in the world. Here is just a small peek into a career that is very often overlooked, or not even thought about.

What gave you the idea to run a funeral home?

The funeral home has been a family business since 1915. My great-grandmother started the business, which makes me a fourth generation funeral director.

How do you react to dead bodies; has it changed over time?

Every human body is treated with the utmost respect. That is how it has always been.

What kind of education did you get to get this job?

I have a four-year college degree; plus I needed to complete a two-year program at Worsham Mortuary School which included one-year of classroom and lab work and one year of working as an apprentice at our funeral home.

What were some of your dream jobs growing up?

I wanted to be a travel journalist. I made it part way as my Bachelor's degree is in journalism. When I was very young, I wanted to be a detective.

How have your reactions to the grief of others changed over time?

One has to be very sensitive to others grief. I am there to support families in their time of need. One never gets used to the sadness, but as a professional, you learn to leave your work at work and concentrate on your family and personal life when at home.

What was your worst experience in your job?

I would not call it the worst experience, but when I was still in mortuary school, I had to help my father make funeral arrangement with a family that lost their five-year old daughter in a fire. She inhaled too much smoke which therefore caused her death. It was very difficult as the parents were very distraught, but I learned from that experience and it has made be a better funeral director.

If there was anything you could change about your job, what would it be and why?

I would love everyone to live to be 100, as all too often there are too many young people dying. Also, that death calls only came between Monday-Friday and from 9am-5pm. We are are 24hour, 7 day a week, 365 day a year business. Death does not take a holiday, so very hard for a funeral director to take one as well.

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