PIcture of What is a mortician

Funeral Business Topics

Funeral Business Topics:

Definition of a Mortician

In my presentations of Black Diamond: The Fourth Missing Bullet,  I immediately broach the topic of funeral business. I state that the story is told through the eyes of a mortician.  But, what

B. Frank Hall overlooking cat tails
Your Author – Once a Mortician

is the definition of a mortician? In short, it’s basically a person who conducts the duties of both the funeral director and the embalmer. To get a little more technical, it is someone who has a license 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.


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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 including but not limited to filing the legal certificate of death, writing obituaries and placing them in newspapers, and collecting presents arriving at the funeral home to give to relatives of the family. This is not the same as the role of a minister, who delivers a sermon for the funeral ceremony. 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 of the deceased. 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, and washing the hearses. Then taking care of trivial matters such as providing emotional support for the family of the deceased and handling the paperwork requirement to run the funeral home business. In a more urban area with naturally more deaths per year, you could be doing more large scale corporate events and 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 in 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. This process has an option of outsourcing to a specialist and is overseen by the mortician. Cosmetics are often make the remains look as natural as possible. If the family decides to have the body cremated,  the funeral director will provide these arrangements.


Morticians also help with the planning of the funeral and 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 clients chose a casket, arrange transportation of the casket, consult with cemeteries, and chose a location for the grave.

Alternatively, if cremation is chosen, the undertaker will help arrange a date for the cremation, order an urn, deliver the urn to the family or organize a place to store it. They also help with all activities of the funeral including finding a minister.  They also coordinate the transportation of the body, and making sure to properly place the obituary. On the day of the funeral, the director arranges the music, photos, slideshows, special tribute services, eulogies, obituaries, seating arrangements. He will also have guest books, presents, donations, brochures, 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. Next, notifying social security of the death, and assisting the family of the deceased in applying for veteran’s burial benefits. Then providing advice on insurance claims, wills, annuities, and pensions. Morticians will also discuss payment options for the funeral and offer payment plans.


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