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Service Corporation International Message Board

  • messageboard_monitor messageboard_monitor Feb 23, 2002 11:08 PM Flag

    New twist on Tri-State

    Two members of the Marsh family, who are associated with Tri-State Crematory, signed their names as funeral directors on Walker County death certificates without being licensed, records obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press show.
    A person not licensed as a funeral director but who contracts directly with a family and accepts and disposes of a dead human body without the direction or supervision of a funeral director is violating Georgia law, according to Russ Willard of the attorney general's office.
    "I don't know what led them to sign those death certificates that way," Mr. Willard said.
    On three occasions between 1992 and 1995, either crematory founder Ray Marsh or his daughter, Rhames Marsh, signed Walker County Health Department death certificates listing themselves as funeral director, records show.
    Neither Ray nor Rhames Marsh was licensed as a funeral director in Georgia during that period, according to Kara Sinkule of the secretary of state's office.
    Rhames Marsh now is a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Chattanooga, where she works at Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home. She received her licenses on June 14, 2001, according to Marilyn Elam, communications director of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, which includes the Funeral Directors and Embalmers Licensing Board.
    Ray Marsh never has received a funeral director's license, Ms. Sinkule said.

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    • He he... That's Virginia's fault for electing republicans...

    • Once again, huh? How is the basic services charge shielding FH's from the "Unseen hand" of capitalism? Anyone who thinks that because funeral homes deal with grieving families that there is no competition is living in a fantasy world... Fh's that charge too much lose market share and eventualy fold or change their ways- JUST LIKE ANY OTHER BUSINESS...

    • Huh? LD, aren't you the guy complaining about there being too many funeral homes? If they stay open, then they ARE earning thier own way in the market.

    • Argh, there I go again with this schizophrenic name problem, how embarrassing.

    • Film, my friend,
      It has been my lifelong hope that at my wake only one thing is said about me as I lay there in my Batesville Montrachet: LOOK, HE'S MOVING!


    • Chuck:

      Well, allowing the crematories the non-declineable fee would be profitable for the funeral homes, I think, as it would take away some of the competitive edge the lower priced providers now enjoy. I am afraid, however, that such a course of action would be far less desirable for the consumer, who clearly made a choice to pay less for the same service when they went to people such as Neptune (which has a pretty hideous record of abuses itself).

      And yes, if you're going to regulate the funeral homes, by that logic, you ought to regulate other sellers and providers of death merchandise and services. No argument from me there, Chuck.

    • Tri-State Crematory had its "nondeclinable"
      all-inclusive fee (which was rather low, I understand) and look what happened.

    • <<would you suggest that independent crematories should be allowed that fee as well?>>

      Why not? Its a free country.


    • <<(a Batesville casket is always a Batesville casket, too, no matter where you buy it.)>>

      And this is exactly why I got out of the "casket selling" business at my funeral home. Although my service charge is over $4500, my caskets are sold slightly over my cost. The families get (and pay for) excellent service, yet my "bottom line" is competitive with other funeral homes in the area. I am not required to set my prices this way, but it is within my rights under the FTC Rule to do so.

      <<He has never appeared insulted, or refused to use the part>>

      And because like your mechanic, I make my paycheck from what I do and not what I sell, I am not insulted by a family who brings their own casket either.

      <<......intepret their own rules to mean that third party casket retailers may not operate in Virginia ....the Vice Pres. of that board ....said that the law was to "protect the consumer" >>

      Well, if we agree that government regulation of funeral homes provides some measure of consumer protection, then common sense would dictate that that same measure of protection is not afforded consumers who use providers who are not regulated. Whether we are talking about crematories, casket stores, pre-need sellers, or whatever.


      P.S. The "black helicopter" comment was left over from my "cut & paste" of the other messageboard. Sorry.

    • Chuck writes (so correctly):

      "Those same families who know they don't want a "Viewing", will usually jump at the chance to pay to have "just the family and some close friends come down to the funeral home for an hour or two to see Mom one last time". Don't you dare call it a "wake" though...Mom never liked "Wakes".

      You are absolutely right, Chuck. Trying to get a deal, even unfairly, is found among consumers as well !

      And you make an *excellent* point about terminology! There is so much silly euphemism in the world today, it's hard to tell whether you're talking to John Q. Public or the PR firm that writes ridiculous product descriptions such as "a fully vertically integrated communications solution." Pardon me while I laugh through my nausea:) Much abounds in the death industry as well. It seems that a combination of absurd public reticence about death (a relatively new, North American phenomenon) coupled with the propensity of business to tart up drab or unpleasant subjects with vague, fanciful titles has led to a wholesale discursive denial of death. "Interment space?" "Casket Coach?" And my favorite - "slumber room????"
      It's funny, when I moved down to Virginia from upstate New York, I was amazed to see hearses any color but black or ambassador grey. They've got them here in champagne, royal blue, white, peach (with - ugh - red velvet curtains) - ANYTHING but black. To paraphrase Shakespeare, a hearse by any other color still signifies death. It's amazing to me that we, as a society, think that we can trump the sad things in life by disguising them and destroying the symbols associated with them. How many people have you met who glibly say "Oh, I don't want a funeral when I die, I want a celebration!" Miss Manners made a good point about this in one of her books where she said it was funny how people thought their own denial of their mortality would actually prevent their relatives from crying when they died. I, for one, know that I'll be hovering over my coffin and seething if my friends and relatives wear floral prints, pass champagne and play pop music.

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