Buddhists are big on family gatherings and daily prayer in anticipation of their loved one’s cremation. That’s one reason Todd Kernke is thankful his family’s funeral home has a “gathering room” for such occasions.
Kernke said the gathering room at Smith & Kernke Funeral Directors on May Avenue in Oklahoma City has been used for receptions, family gatherings and even to hold a full funeral service.
“We’ve had some Buddhists that, instead of using the chapel, they’ll use the gathering room,” Kernke said.
Kernke is one of many funeral professionals that said the rising popularity of cremation and less traditional funeral services have lead to more family reception-style gatherings.
“They don’t have to go to the cemetery so they end up having a reception here,” Kernke said. “It's for convenience, to keep people out of their own home.”
Marcus Crawford plans to accommodate this growing trend by building a coffee lounge into his funeral home. Crawford Family Funeral Home is expected to open in March on NW 178 between Western and Santa Fe avenues in Oklahoma City.
Crawford also plans to use his pet, Murray, as a “therapy dog” for guests in mourning.
“Regardless of whether they’re grieving over a death or grieving over something else, a dog walks into the room wagging his tale and it gives people a brighter feeling,” Crawford said.
Darin Corbett, owner of Corbett Funeral and Cremation Service in northwest Oklahoma City, said he once hosted a beach party-style service.