When A Death Occurs
Our staff will guide you through all the arrangements that must be made within a short time, including contacting the cemetery, placing obituary notices in the newspapers, ordering flowers, and contacting the clergy or a celebrant and musicians. We will also assist you with the many tasks that must be handled after the funeral. Our experienced, licensed Funeral Directors have answers to your important questions.
What Do I Do when Someone Dies?
At work or home…When a death occurs at home or in the workplace, a family member or co-worker should contact emergency personnel and the person's physician, if he or she was under a doctor's care. If the death occurs at home with family or friends present, and the person is under a physician's care, the family may call us directly.
However, if the death occurs at a home and no one else is there at the time of death, the police will need to be notified and respond to the residence before the deceased person may be removed from the home. In some cases, the coroner may be required to respond to the residence, as well.
If in any case you are not sure of who to notify or what to do, you may call Erlewein Mortuary, and we'll assist you in notifying the appropriate parties.
When a death occurs in a facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, the professional staff will notify you and the necessary authorities. If the name of the mortuary has been left with them, they will notify the mortuary, as well. Your Funeral Director will contact you immediately following their notification to help you proceed. For your reassurance, you may contact the mortuary at any time yourself, so you can be certain that all is taken care of properly.
If a loved one was in the care of a hospice program, a hospice representative will give family members instructions and procedures to follow. Occasionally, the coroner may be notified by hospice. Once hospice has made their notifications, they will contact the mortuary. It is always a good idea for the family to contact us immediately upon death, so that we will be aware of the pending call from hospice.
The Arrangement Conference
Your Funeral Director will schedule a day and time for you to meet to make the necessary arrangements. You will want to bring the following items with you to the arrangement conference:
- burial clothing, including underclothes and shoes. If you do not have appropriate clothing, you may choose burial
- clothing from our selection at the mortuary during the arrangement conference, or we will be happy to shop for you to find the appropriate attire.
- photograph(s) of the deceased person. This will be used for the newspaper obituaries, memorial folders, and for preparation of the deceased person's body. The photo does not have to be an individual photo; it can have more people than just the deceased person in it.
- eyeglasses, jewelry, or other personal affects you would like your loved one to wear, including your loved one's favorite makeup or perfume/cologne.
- cemetery deeds, if applicable.
- life insurance policies, if applicable.
Widening the Circle
Knowing what basic information you’ll need to have ready when you arrive at the mortuary will make the arrangement conference less stressful for you. You will need to bring the following information about your loved one to the arrangement conference:
- father's name
- mother's name, including maiden name
- date of birth
- social security number
- military service and veteran's discharge papers, if either deceased person or his/her spouse was a veteran
- education information, including number of years attended and degrees conferred
- marital status
- physician's name
- occupation and date of retirement, if applicable
- organization/club memberships
- names of survivors and their places of residence, including parents, spouse, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great great-grandchildren, and other significant survivors
- names of family members preceding your loved one in death
- name of clergy or celebrant who will officiate funeral
- names of newspapers you would like to be notified of the death
- name of the organization to which you would like memorial contribution sent, if applicable
Our Funeral Directors can help arrange many of the other things you may want to consider, including:
- Is there special music you would like to have during the visitation or funeral? This may be from a CD, organist, soloist, or other musician.
- Are there photographs - either framed or unframed - that you would like to have displayed during the visitation or funeral? We can prepare a Remembrance Video to display your photographs over a television monitor in the chapel or we can arrange your photographs on Memory Boards (unframed) or Memory/Collage Tables (framed).
- Is there special memorabilia you would like to have displayed during the visitation or funeral? We can arrange hobby, sports, craft, or other special items for visitors to remember your loved one.
- Are there family members or friends that you would like to have an important part in the funeral? For example, some may read a poem, say a few words about your loved one, serve as a casket bearer, play special music or sing a song, select flowers for the casket, or participate in a ceremony.
During the arrangement conference, the Funeral Director will provide you with a checklist of the tasks requiring your attention after the funeral, along with other helpful information.
International Travel - Death Outside the U.S.
If a family member dies while traveling outside the United States, the U.S. Embassy will assist you. Please call us immediately when a death occurs abroad. Our staff will help ensure the return of your loved one to the United States.
We will make all of the necessary arrangements to convey your loved one to a local funeral home for preparation and return home. To avoid unnecessary duplicate charges, please do not call another funeral home yourself. By allowing us to make all arrangements, we can help ensure your costs are kept as low as possible.
One of our licensed Funeral Directors at Erlewein Mortuary & Crematory will be honored to explain all of the options available to you.