Tonight the TCGS members enjoyed listening to a presentation given by Bob Smith. Mr. Smith is the owner and operator of both Smith Ambulance and Smith Funeral Homes. His funeral home in Sugarcreek serves the Amish community in the area. Mr. Smith explained the difference between our ‘English’ funerals and the Amish funerals.
‘English’ funerals are evolving with our fast paced life styles. No longer do we have the traditional obituary in the newspaper, followed by one or two nights of calling hours, a service, and burial. Today, many don’t have an obituary, or calling hours, or even burial. Cremation has changed the ‘normal’ services.
Amish funerals are more of a ‘grass roots’ funeral according to Mr. Smith. The Amish community has a tried and true established way of doing things. When the funeral home is alerted of a death a certain process is put into action. The obituary is immediately written up. Many times before the body is removed from the home. The obituary must be in the next day’s paper as calling hours begin the day after death.
Each Amish church has their own coffin maker. The funeral home must go to the shop and pick up the casket. Then the body is returned to the deceased’s home for the calling hours. At day three after the passing, is the funeral.
Amish services are attended in mass. Many times Mr. Smith must print between 600-1000 memorial folders. Neighbors come to the home of the deceased do help with chores, animal care, and food prep for the funeral. The graves are hand dug in family cemeteries.
Thank you, Mr. Smith, for taking the time to present your knowledge with us.