There is no single proper funeral service.
A funeral represents a purposeful opportunity to reflect on the meaning of a life that has been lived and to determine the impact of that meaning for the family and friends. There is no single proper funeral service. It is a time for human sharing in its deepest sense. You and the ones you love are at the very center of the process, and the choices you make will determine its significance for you. As you participate in the planning of the funeral service, you help create a meaningful experience for everyone.
It is the goal of Donohue Funeral Home to help people complete the relationship with the one who has died and to provide a climate that encourages each person to give and receive emotional support. During the funeral service, family and friends have the opportunity to relate to each other at the deepest levels and find mutual strength.
Complete Funeral Service
Traditionally, the funeral will be a complete funeral service. This includes a family or public viewing of the deceased. Following this will be a service, typically in the church or at the funeral home. This would be followed by the earth or above ground burial of the casketed remains. Caskets selected may cost from several hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending on the material the casket is constructed of. Many cemeteries require that a minimum grave liner be used to encase the casket when earth buried. These minimum liners are constructed of concrete and are designed to hold the weight of the earth, maintaining the cemetery property. A sealed vault may also be used. The vaults are also constructed of concrete and are designed to not only protect the gravesite, but are manufactured with inner liners that not only restrict the entrance of graveside elements (water and earth) but increase the strength of the vault.
The graveside service can be another selection. This many times would follow a time of visitation at the funeral home. The casketed remains would then be transferred to the cemetery where a graveside ceremony could take place followed by the burial.
Complete Cremation Service
The complete cremation service is another type of selected offering. This service will be just like a Complete Funeral Service except cremation will follow instead of the casketed burial. This can be accommodated by the use of a cremation casket (casket that is designed to be cremated) or even a rental casket may be used. Following the viewing, service or ceremony, and eventual cremation, the cremated remains can be buried, properly scattered, or returned to the family for safe keeping. Urns are used to hold the cremated remains. Urns can be constructed out of basic materials like cardboard or plastic, or constructed out of more protective materials like basic and semi-precious metals, ceramics, and woods.
Immediate Cremation Service
The immediate cremation service can be arranged as an immediate disposition of the body, but is most times followed by a memorial service at the church, funeral home or other location. A Memorial Service is one where the body is not present. We recommend that if you select an immediate cremation that you are allowed a time, if possible, to privately view the body as a family. If the viewing can be done in a matter of a few hours after the death then embalming will not be necessary. If there is to be a long delay (more than 8-12 hours) then embalming would be encouraged. State laws vary as to when embalming becomes required. Viewing of the deceased is a very important step in acknowledging that the death has occurred. Having some type of service or ceremony is also a key ingredient to a healthy recovery of a loss due to a death.
At Donohue Funeral Home, we encourage families to create very personalized services. It is important to acknowledge that life that has been lived and to offer to the community a way in which to celebrate that life. By offering services and memorialization features that are personal and special, a unique life can be remembered and honored in an individualized way that is comforting to the family and friends.
How Your Funeral Director Can Serve You
When a death occurs, your primary responsibility is to yourself and the ones you love. There are a number of things that require attention simultaneously. Regardless of the day or hour, Donohue Funeral Home is always prepared to respond to your needs quickly and competently. The funeral director's main function is to assist you with the necessary details of the funeral process. Among the services funeral directors provide are:
For more information about our professional services, please contact us by e-mail or call at 610-449-0300 . We're here to help.
Cremation allows families many choices for memorializing a loved one.
Overview of Cremation
The number of people choosing cremation has increased significantly in the past few years, yet cremation carries a long tradition and remains largely unchanged.
Cremation simply expedites the process of reducing a body to bone fragments through application of intense heat.
What is done before or after the cremation is up to the survivors, or up to you. You can relieve the burden of these decisions by pre-planning your arrangements in advance of need so that your wishes will be honored.
Contrary to what some people believe, Cremation does not limit choices, but, in fact, increases one’s options. It is a process which is performed in a respectful and dignified manner and can be memorialized in many ways.
Cremation and Funerals
Choosing cremation neither eliminates nor does it require a funeral service. Traditional or contemporary services are often planned before or after the cremation process. A funeral service followed by cremation may be exactly the same as a funeral service followed by ground burial. They can be elaborate or simple and traditional or nontraditional. Arrangements and ceremonies tend to be as individual as the persons for whom and by whom they are made.They may be personalized specifically to reflect the life of the deceased, and thus have a special meaning. Donohue Funeral Home is able to assist in any and all of your Funeral Service needs. To obtain more information on funeral services click here or call 610-449-0300.
The Complete Cremation Service will be just like a complete funeral service except cremation will follow instead of the casketed burial. This can be accommodated by the use of a cremation casket (casket that is designed to be cremated) or the use of a rental casket. Following the viewing, service or ceremony, and eventual cremation, the cremated remains can be buried, properly scattered, or returned to the family for safe keeping. Urns are used to hold the cremated remains. Urns can be constructed out of basic materials like cardboard or plastic, or constructed out of more protective materials like basic and semi-precious metals, ceramics, and woods.
The Immediate Cremation Service can be arranged as an immediate disposition of the body, but is most times followed by a memorial service at the church, funeral home or other location. A memorial service is one where the body is not present. We recommend that if you select an immediate cremation that you are allowed a time, if possible, to privately view the body as a family. If the viewing can be done in a matter of a few hours after the death then embalming will not be necessary. If there is to be a long delay (more than 8-12 hours) then embalming would be encouraged. If the viewing could not be done within 48 hours then embalming may be required. Viewing of the deceased is a very important step in acknowledging that the death has occurred. Having some type of service or ceremony is also a key ingredient to a healthy recovery of a loss due to a death.
A Direct Cremation refers to a cremation being provided, while limiting funeral services to the removal and transportation of the deceased into our care.
Importance of Memorialization
Memorialization provides a permanent, secure place for cremated remains to be placed, and for family members and descendants to honor the lives of the deceased.
Cremation allows families many choices for memorializing a loved one. Some families choose to keep the cremated remains with them at home, or to scatter the remains over land or water. Donohue Funeral Home allows the following memorialization options, among others, for cremated remains:
Memorialization Options for Cremation
Outdoor Niches – The cremated remains of your loved ones may be safely held in one of our many above ground columbarium niches.
Scattering – Your loved one's remains may be scattered freely within a dedicated, natural environment. There are also certain services which offer scattering among the sea or the stars.
Traditional Burial – In ground burial on a family plot – Urns may be buried at the head or foot of a grave site.
Personalized Memorialization – Inscribe your family member’s name and a special saying on a tree plaque, park bench or other special memorial. We also have custom, unique urns and keepsakes, perfect for displaying inside your home. For an overview of these items, please visit our merchandise pages, or contact us directly and we will help you with your needs.
The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits.
Funeral & Burial Questions
What is the purpose of a funeral?
Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:
It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.
I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?
At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased.
Funeral directors are listeners, advisors, and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
What types of funeral services exist?
Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and, if so, whether the casket will be open or closed and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of someone disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Is embalming required by law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease or when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another by a common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
As more people are choosing cremation, funeral service professionals are striving to give consumers a true sense of what their many options are for a funeral service. Often funeral directors find that people have a preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. Therefore, they request direct cremation and deny the surviving friends and family the opportunity to honor them with a memorial service. In actuality, cremation is only part of the commemorative experience. In fact, cremation can actually increase your options when planning a funeral. Cremation gives people the flexibility to search for types of tributes that reflect the life being honored. But, this doesn't mean that aspects of traditional funeral services have to be discarded. Even with cremation, a meaningful memorial that is personalized to reflect the life of the deceased could include:
Commonly, cremated remains are placed in an urn and committed to an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium, interred in a family burial plot, or included in a special urn garden.
Cremation also gives families the option to scatter the remains. This can be done in a designated cemetery garden or at a place that was special to the person. Today, cremated remains can even become part of an ocean reef or made into diamonds.
Where can I get more information on cremation?
We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral or memorial service with a cremation. For more technical information about the cremation process, we encourage you to view information online at the National Funeral Directors Association.
Funeral Cost Questions
What does the average funeral cost?
In 2012, the national average cost of an adult, full-service funeral was $7,045. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of deceased, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, service car or van, and metal casket. This average increases to $8,343 if a vault is included. Cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 2012 NFDA General Price List Survey.)
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
Funeral service is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission and state licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer-guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, call 708-827-6337 or 800-662-7666).
What to Do If Death Occurs
What should I do if a death occurs at home?
When death occurs, Donohue Funeral Home personnel are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week. Please call 610-449-0300 or any of our locations for assistance.
Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If your family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say goodbye, this is acceptable. Our staff will come when the time is right for you.
If a loved one dies out of state, can Donohue Funeral Home still help?
When death occurs away from home, Donohue Funeral Home can assist you with out-of-state arrangements and transfer the deceased to a preferred location. Please call 610-449-0300 for assistance.
The most commonly asked questions about cremation.
What is cremation?
To begin with, it is probably easier to describe what cremation isn't. Cremation is not final disposition of the remains, nor is some type of funeral service. Rather, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame.
How long does the actual cremation take?
It depends on the weight of the individual. For an average size adult, cremation takes from two to three hours at normal operating temperature between 1,500 degrees F to 2,000 degrees F.
What happens after the cremation is complete?
All organic bone fragments, which are very brittle, as well as non-consumed metal items are "swept" into the front of the cremation chamber and into a stainless steel cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal from clothing, hip joints, and bridge work, are separated from the cremated remains. This separation is accomplished through visual inspection as well as using a strong magnet for smaller and minute metallic objects. Items such as dental gold and silver are non-recoverable and are commingled in with the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed in a machine to a consistent size and placed into a temporary or permanent urn, selected by the family.
What do the cremated remains look like?
Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average size adult usually weigh between four to eight pounds of cremated remains.
In what kind of container are the cremated remains returned?
The cremated remains are placed in a basic container at no charge to you. Or they may be placed in the urn of your choice from our large selection of urns available for purchase.
Are all the cremated remains returned?
With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.
What can be done with the cremated remains?
There are many options. Remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or cremation garden, inurned in a columbarium, kept at home, or scattered on private property. Our staff will be happy to discuss these options with you and make any arrangements.
Concerns About Cremation
Are there any laws governing cremation?
Cremation regulations vary from state-to-state.
Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.
Can the family witness the cremation?
Yes, for a nominal fee. Our state-of-the-art cremation facility is set up to allow family members to be present when the body is placed into the cremation chamber. In fact, some religious groups include this as part of their funeral custom.
How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?
We have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of quality and minimize the potential for human error. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process. We only allow certified professionals to operate our cremation equipment.
Questions About Urns, Caskets Embalming
Do I need an urn?
An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or the cremated remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not selected, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary cardboard container.
Is a casket needed for cremation?
No, a casket is not required for cremation. All that is required by state law is a rigid container which is cremated with the body.
Is embalming required prior to cremation?
Absolutely not and it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.
Can the body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, immediate family members may briefly view the deceased prior to cremation in our private viewing room. The deceased is first washed, dressed and prepared for viewing. However, under certain circumstances embalming may be required, such as a public visitation.
Your unprecedented choice for all of your funeral needs.
The Donohue Funeral Home is family owned and has been in operation since 1898. We currently have five locations in Delaware and Chester County which are staffed by three generations of the Donohue family and tenured associates who work diligently to ensure that your family is treated with the dignity and compassion you deserve. When you call, the telephone is always answered by a member of the funeral home staff or a Donohue family member. We do not use an answering service. Our staff is always professional in appearance and demeanor. We own and operate our own crematory and are able to meet the needs and special requests of all of the families we have the privilege of serving. The Donohue Funeral Home offers an onsite print shop to prepare prayer cards, memorial folders and custom portraits. We also are able to offer a video collage of photos for your family to share. In addition, we have a Pre-Need Department allowing you to plan your funeral to assure your final wishes are carried out.
The Donohue Funeral Home is your unprecedented choice for all of your funeral needs.
Your family’s loved one will never leave our care.
The Donohue Funeral Home, Inc. owns and operates it’s own private crematory, on-site in Upper Darby, next to our Funeral Home. The crematory is operated by our licensed funeral directors, who are certified operators. You can rest comfortably knowing that your family’s loved one will never leave our care. Rest assured, each cremation is individualized.
Your loved one never leaves our care.
A helpful update for residents living in Pennsylvania.
StoneMor Corporation Cashing In On Catholic Cemeteries
In Greater Philadelphia, StoneMor Partners is planning to cash in on the consecrated grounds of the Catholic cemeteries. After purchasing the management rights to 13 Catholic cemeteries, with an initial payment of $53 million for 60-year contract, StoneMor is intent on commercializing the sacred grounds of remembrance for faithful Catholics, while disguised behind the robes of the church.
"We actually felt that for marketing it was better to have the church still perceived [as the owner]."
~ Ray Smith, V.P. Marketing, StoneMor*
StoneMor is the second-largest owner and operator of cemeteries in the U.S. Like any publicly traded corporation, their stockholders demand high returns on their. The company's sales force uses cemetery records to contact families and subject them to high-pressure sales tactics that maximize company profits. In some cases, families are confronted about purchasing funeral merchandise for other family members while they are making arrangements for the burial of a loved one.
"These cemeteries have for the most part never sold the merchandise or the other services. And there is – we don't know exactly, but somewhere between 60,000, 70,000, 80,000 living members of the Catholic community in Philadelphia that own their vault, they don't own their marker, they don't own their casket and they don't own the opening and closing. So there is going to be the enormous opportunity for the company to market just to their own lot owners…"
~ Ray Smith, V.P. Marketing, StoneMor*
*Transcript from Investor's Day Conference, November 18, 2013.
Unfortunately, not everyone believes in treating customers with the same respect. For some profit-driven corporations, a casket or a cemetery plot is just another sale and making the quota is more important than building relationships with families.
"The true story of StoneMor, however, is even more troubling… This story adds skewed incentives, deception, greed, and unethical behavior by a management team that engaged in precisely such behavior with a prior company."
~ Seeking Alpha – Value Sleuth The Impending Implosion of StoneMor Partners
You Can Rely On Your
Local Funeral Director
As local funeral directors, we understand the importance of community, the significance of tradition and the value of family. We serve families with care and compassion and hold integrity and fairness in high regard. We have been here for our communities for generations.
Question To Ask & Things
To Do – To Protect Yourself
Ask Us – We Are Here To Help
If you have questions about pre-need arrangement, please contact your local funeral director. As a licensed professional, he or she will be able to provide you with information to help you make the best choice your family.
When a death occurs in your family, you will be faced with important tasks and decision-making during a very difficult time. You may not know what to do or when to begin making arrangements. Bearing the responsibility can be overwhelming. Remember that you are not alone. Donohue Funeral Home is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist you with the details and offer our guidance. We have compiled the following list to help guide you through the steps you will need to take when a death has occurred. Your funeral director will help coordinate all of the details when you meet for an arrangement conference.
We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement. These items will include: