PIcture of What is a mortician

Definition of a Mortician

Definition of a Mortician

B. Frank Hall overlooking cat tails, Definition of a Mortician
B. Frank Hall overlooking cat tails

In my presentation of Black Diamond: The Fourth Missing Bullet, I state that the story is told through the eyes of a mortician.  But, what is the definition of a mortician? In short, it’s generally a person who conducts the duties of both the funeral director and the embalmer. To get a little more technical, it is someone who is licensed as both a funeral director and embalmer. I was licensed in both areas.

I found Mortician Guide that explains in detail what a mortician does.


In keeping with the them of the definition of a mortician, a mortician, also known as an undertaker or funeral director, is in charge of coordinating the funeral entire process. This includes preparing the body for burial or cremation, also known as embalming, making arrangements with families and loved ones, and overseeing funeral logistics. Not only do morticians need good technical skills when embalming, but also they need good customer service skills when dealing with the friends and family. Hopefully this gives you a good background on what is a mortician and what does a mortician do.


What a funeral director does on a day to day basis will vary drastically depending on location. If you are in a rural location, you could be embalming, cleaning the mortuary, washing the hearses, or even taking care of trivial matters. These are duties  such as providing emotional support for the family. They also include handling the paperwork requirement to run the funeral home business. In a more urban area with naturally more deaths per year, you will be doing more large scale corporate events. Therefore, you would have a specialized task in a large team. Undertakers generally work very hard, have irregular work hours, and are always on call. Nevertheless, a role of a mortician is  three general categories: preparation of the body, funeral arrangements, and administrative tasks.


Morticians must first arrange for the assumption of the body from the hospital morgue or coroner. They then help prepare the body for burial and visitation through an elaborate embalming process.  If the family decides to utilize cremation, the funeral director will provide these arrangements.


Morticians also help with the planning of the funeral. They would also guide the deceased family and friends through the process. If the family of the deceased chooses to have the body embalmed, the funeral director will help in the process.  This includes helping  clients chose a casket, arrange transportation of the casket, consult with cemeteries, and chose a location for the grave. Alternatively, if the family chooses creamation, the undertaker will organize this activity.  This includes arranging a date for the cremation, order an urn,  and deliver the urn to the family of the deceased or organize a place to store it.

They also help with all activities of the funeral including finding a minister, coordinating transportation of the body, and making sure the obituary is put together in a timely manner. On the day of the funeral, the director arranges the music, special tribute services, obituaries, seating arrangements, flowers, and provides emotional support for the guests.


A mortician is responsible for handling the paperwork of the deceased. This includes organizing and submitting the legal certificate of death, and also notifying social security of the death.  Then they will assist the family in applying for veteran’s burial benefits as well as providing advice on insurance claims, wills, annuities, and pensions. Morticians will also discuss payment options for the funeral and offer payment plans.

Follow That Napkin mascot logo


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *