Kelley Firm: Funerals Services Moving to Digital, Drive-Thru Services With Gathering Limitations

Bouquet of flowers on a casket

With Gov. Greg Abbott mandating no social gatherings of 10 or more people, local businesses are trying to find ways to continue serving their communities, and they are turning increasingly to technology to get the job done.

Local funeral homes have begun posting in The Paris News that instead of a large gathering in a church hall, for now, some funerals are going digital.

“Our company is making the effort to buy equipment to do that,” said March Ground with Bright-Holland Funeral Home.

The governor’s mandate makes it difficult for funeral homes to do their jobs fully, especially with the family of the deceased needing to pay their respects.

“We were told even outside to limit numbers,” Ground said. “Even the grave workers will have to stand to one side (while the funeral home workers handle graveside services).”

Bright-Holland hopes to be offering digital services to families soon, he said.

“Bright-Holland Funeral Home is here for our families and doing whatever we can to serve them,” Ground said. “This crazy world came upon us … It’s a challenging time for all of us.

Others are already there. On Sunday, Clarksville Funeral Home hosted its first digital service for Marvin Daniel Whittle Jr.

“It’s our first livestreaming of a service and our first drive-thru visitation,” Dan Ryan with Clarksville Funeral Home said on Friday. “We will be doing it over Facebook.

“We will be doing this for a couple of months, … with Gov. Abbott’s orders, we don’t know how long or how limited our funerals will be.”

The service was live streamed through a family member’s iPad and Facebook account to handle digital licensing restrictions for the music, Ryan said.

This could even be a permanent offering from the funeral home once the pandemic has passed, he said.

“I think it could be,” Ryan said. “It’s definitely something that’s different. People are going to be very cautious for a very long time. Funerals are moving towards high-technology offerings.”