Sometimes obituaries can be surprising. In this training, I explain how I experienced three surprises while reviewing obituaries on a blended WordPress/Funeral One website.

The following transcript was AI generated. Please excuse any typos.

Hi, this is John Callaghan, and this week, I’m going to talk about obituary surprises. Specifically some surprises that I found in an obituary that I saw when I was reviewing a website.

The website was this one,

They were a client of Funeral One. Funeral One this me this link as an example of a different type of website. This actually has a WordPress website that uses the Funeral One obituary module.

It really takes the best advantage of both worlds and produces a site that I think is pretty impressive. I’m impressed by what they’ve done with this site and how they’ve integrated it. It turned out great.

The surprise happened when I stumbled upon an obituary. I looked at this one obituary, and the surprise really was the amount of tribute wall activity. That’s the section of the Funeral One obituary that is basically the condolence messages, and it’s all of the activity there. I was absolutely blown away by the amount of activity.

This is the one, Leonard Busuttil; the amount of activity on this obituary goes on and on. I don’t know how many flower orders, I stopped counting after 50 flower orders and tree orders.

I read the obituary information, and Leonard was from another country. He came from a large family. He had a large family himself, and they were scattered all over the globe, so he had condolence messages from every corner of the planet, and it was very touching.

As you go through and read the messages, it’s clear that there was a great deal of love in his life and that he had a lot of people who really cared for him and truly miss him.

The point is that distributed families need a place to gather. They can’t gather in person. They’re not going to come from Australia to Michigan for a funeral.

They needed a place to gather, and today, that means they gather online, and whether it be at the website or some other site, they gather online and express their condolences. You’ve got to have this kind of functionality on your website.

Surprise number two, though, was that the obit was not shared on Facebook.

I went to the Facebook page for the funeral home. They don’t post their obituaries.

Now, this is a fairly large firm. I think they do about 500 calls a year in the community. I don’t question their work at all.

But they don’t post their obituaries on Facebook, which means that the people that came to the website, the onus was on them to share the information, and when I checked, they really didn’t. There were only two shares of this obituary out on Facebook.

The funeral home should have put it out there and then let it spread from there. But instead, they kept everybody on the website, which I can understand the logic. It’s technically better for flower sales if you keep them on your website, but that doesn’t allow the obituary to go viral.

This is an obituary that had hundreds if not thousands of comments, but it could have had probably twice as many if not more, had it gone out onto Facebook and gone through other social media platforms from there.

The point is that Facebook is the new source of community obituaries. It’s where people expect to find obituaries.

Google replaced the Yellow Pages. Facebook has replaced the obituary pages. People expect obituaries out there.

They’re either going to find them indirectly by having somebody share the obituary on their Facebook page, or they’re going to go to the funeral home’s Facebook page and expect to find current obituaries there.

It’s just a common thing in our society today, and the point is you have to be sharing your obituaries because surprise number three is that I wish I had known.

You see, I knew Leonard.

It had been 20 years since I had seen him, but we had been friends years ago. We had gone our separate ways. We’d gone to different communities, we moved further apart. We lost touch, but for a good 10 years, we were reasonably good friends. We socialized together. We went to each other’s house.

I wish I had known. Had this obituary been posted to Facebook and gone viral from there, one of our overlapping friends might’ve shared it, and I might have seen this. I might’ve had the opportunity to attend his funeral, which I would’ve.

It’s a shame that this funeral home doesn’t share the obituaries on Facebook because that is how word spreads these days.

Post your obituaries to Facebook and let social media spread the word because sometimes there’s a person out there that really wishes they had known, and they find out too late.

I’ll be back next week. Until then, rest in peace, my friend.


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