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Funeral Homes Turn to Technology, Condolence Notes Instead of Gatherings for Funerals

Barbara Brosher, WFIU/WTIU News


Funeral Homes are considered essential business unders stay-at-home orders.

In-person funerals are officially restricted to immediate family only. Many funeral homes are doing livestreamed services, posting videos after, or working with families to postpone memorial services. 

Starks Funeral Homes, with six chapels in Berrien and Cass counties, is doing something called ‘Hugs from Home.’ Condolence messages taken online or over the phone are attached to balloons. The balloons are placed in the chapel during the family service to be there when friends and relatives can’t be.

Laura Starks is the owner and funeral Director and Starks and Menchinger Chapel in St. Joseph. “That way the family can read the messages and find comfort in knowing that people are thinking about them.” 


Starks said some families are postponing but they encourage families to have some services now.

“If you wait for a service you’re extending the grieving process and that is not good for anyone so even if it’s just something small now, we’re trying to help the family grieve in a proper way.”


Berrien County reported a second COVID-19 death on Monday. Health authorities are also reporting a bump in confirmed cases related to a recent public funeral. 

Officials encourage people to keep funerals small for now and utilize technology to include more mourners. Or postpone services until the pandemic is over.