By: Jonathan Craciun

I come from a third generation funeral home family and spent much of my life in and around the funeral home in which my father and his four siblings were raised. I also was a licensed and practicing funeral director and manager for 10 years.

One day, I decided to take the leap into something I am also just as passionate about: technology. I have witnessed first hand how the funeral home industry has evolved through the years by adapting to technology as a way to enhance the work they are already doing in the community. And while funeral homes continue to be more traditional in nature, technology keeps pushing funeral home owners and operators into new territories.

Evolving Technologies

Some of the first technologies funeral homes have adopted include case entry, contract creation, and computer-based administration. In many funeral homes today, the director compiles the data and purchase information into a system with the family present. This system then produces a contract and performs other tasks such as ordering products (caskets, vaults, urns), and creating death certificates and burial permits.

The good-old file cabinet has not disappeared though, as there is vital paperwork that must be stored, such as Identification and Chain of Custody paperwork. Paper has its place for now, but it may eventually become less prevalent the more advanced funeral home technology gets.

The Rise of the Internet

This leads us to the internet. With the omnipresence of the online world, people are spending more and more time on their phones and computers searching for products and services rather than shopping in storefronts. The rise of internet use also led to better, more effective ways to assist and comfort families.

Virtually every funeral home now has a website – some more sophisticated and in-depth than others. One popular feature integrated into websites is Learning Centers. These sections offer articles, stories, and advice from experts and professionals on an array of topics, including how to deal with death, grieving, and funeral planning. I am a big fan of these, as grieving families may not have anywhere else to turn.

The Impact of COVID-19

There is no denying that COVID-19 changed the world forever. The simple fact that mourners were unable to attend funerals and services had a profound effect on the funeral industry. How do you mourn or celebrate someone’s life if you can not even be present?

This is where remote streaming has come into play. Most funeral homes quickly realized they needed an option for friends and family who could not make the services. This has carried on even post-pandemic and has become a staple in the industry. On the same note, aftercare for families, which is the act of helping families after the funeral has taken place, has also evolved. For example, Automated Aftercare, which sends follow up notes from the funeral home directly to the email addresses of the family, has become a great way to aid loved ones in the days and weeks to come.

Changing the Face of the Funeral Industry

These new technologies are changing the face of the “old school” funeral home dynamic. That leads to the inevitable question: What do we have on the horizon? I see the industry becoming a lot more cloud based, including remote arrangements so that families do not need to leave their homes to arrange funerals. Rather than going to the funeral home to select caskets and products, an online atmosphere such as Amazon Marketplace would guide the customer.

The next question may be: Where does that leave the personal connection between the funeral home and families? No matter how much technology becomes an integral part of funeral home operations, at the end of the day, it is the human connection that matters most.


Jonathan Craciun is currently a Client Success Manager at Sympathy Brands. He is a third generation death care industry veteran who has held multiple sales roles. Additionally, Jonathan has served as both a funeral director and then a location manager for ten years at Craciun Funeral Homes in the Greater Cleveland Area. Craciun earned his Bachelor of Arts from Bowling Green State University.

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