News & Articles

Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirloom

By Richard Eisenberg for Next Avenue, February 9, 2016

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and ...

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FTC Covert Funeral Home Investigations Reveal Violations

February 15, 2017 via FTC News

Federal Trade Commission investigators working undercover in nine states found failures to disclose pricing information to consumers, as required by the FTC’s Funeral Rule, in 31 of the 133 funeral homes they visited during 2015 and 2016.

The FTC conducts undercover inspections to ensure ...

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Unlicensed West Philly undertaker sentenced to two years' probation

By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Staff Writer for

An unlicensed West Philadelphia funeral director whose mortuary was closed by the state in 2015 has been sentenced to two years’ probation and ordered to repay $5,000 to three families whose dead relatives were mishandled.

Blair Hawkins, 54, of Laurel Springs ...

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Northeast Texas Cremation Costs Vary Dramatically

By George Hale • MAR 21, 2017 for 88.9 KTR

In Northeast Texas, the cost of a cremation can be unpredictable.

In Paris, for example, the Peaceful Rest funeral home charges $950. Go two miles east, to Bright Holland funeral home, and it's more than $2,000. Three others in Paris charge ...

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When is dying a laughing matter?

By  for the Star Tribune March 6, 2017

Roy Cato is dying. But that hasn’t stopped him or his caregivers from finding a way to keep laughing.

Whether it’s jokes about enemas (“the enemy,” Cato calls them) or his long-term planning (“I need a calendar”), he has ...

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You May Want to Marry My Husband

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal , featured in the New York Times March 3, 2017

I have been trying to write this for a while, but the morphine and lack of juicy cheeseburgers (what has it been now, five weeks without real food?) have drained my energy and interfered with whatever prose ...

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What happens to gold teeth when someone is cremated?

March 09, 2017 

By Karin Price Mueller for NJ Advance Media, 

Cremation is growing in popularity in the United States.

In 2015, 48.6 percent of Americans who died were cremated, according to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA). That number is expected to rise to 54 ...

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No-Frills ‘Green Burials’ Offer New Way to Go to the Great Hereafter

By MOLLY SMITH for Reporting Texas on Jan 6, 2017

Ellen Macdonald got the idea to open the first green cemetery in Central Texas while watching an episode of “Six Feet Under,” an HBO series about a family that owned a funeral home, in 2007.

“It was the first time ...

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When A Mother Decides To Stop Cancer Treatment And Face Death

Originally published Aug 5, 2016

By Dr. Annie Brewster and Leah Meyer for 90.9 WBUR

More than a decade ago, Colleen Lum was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer. Her children, Kyle and Kiara, were 11 and 8 years old at the time.

A few months ago, after battling the disease for 13 ...

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What I learned from 2,000 obituaries

"If more people tried living their lives to be famous in death, the world would be a much better place." - Lux Narayan

Lux Narayan starts his day with scrambled eggs and the question: "Who died today?" Why? By analyzing 2,000 New York Times obituaries over a 20-month ...

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