Obituaries

Aldine Gehring
B: 1920-07-18
D: 2017-07-26
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Gehring, Aldine
Donna Van Dell
B: 1923-05-06
D: 2017-07-22
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Van Dell, Donna
Carie Proud
B: 1969-10-14
D: 2017-07-19
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Proud, Carie
Cora Johnson
B: 1944-10-30
D: 2017-07-13
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Johnson, Cora
Florence DeShazer
B: 1921-08-09
D: 2017-07-05
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DeShazer, Florence
Annie Garges
B: 1930-07-16
D: 2017-07-03
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Garges, Annie
Lois Derrick
B: 1923-09-17
D: 2017-07-03
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Derrick, Lois
Dorris Golay
B: 1925-02-26
D: 2017-07-02
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Golay, Dorris
Cleo Williams
B: 1929-12-14
D: 2017-07-02
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Williams, Cleo
Grace Ketcham
B: 1929-06-26
D: 2017-06-19
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Ketcham, Grace
Hector Arroyo
B: 1991-01-21
D: 2017-06-18
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Arroyo, Hector
Theodore Fellows
B: 1928-03-04
D: 2017-06-15
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Fellows, Theodore
Carol Zimmerman
B: 1936-07-26
D: 2017-06-14
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Zimmerman, Carol
Michael Lee
B: 1950-02-02
D: 2017-06-10
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Lee, Michael
Beverly Whalen
B: 1927-04-04
D: 2017-06-05
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Whalen, Beverly
Rodolfo Salas
B: 1984-08-11
D: 2017-06-05
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Salas, Rodolfo
Kathrine Healy
B: 1951-03-14
D: 2017-06-02
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Healy, Kathrine
Virgil Hulse
B: 1933-08-31
D: 2017-05-30
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Hulse, Virgil
Estelle Lynn
B: 1927-02-05
D: 2017-05-21
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Lynn, Estelle
Casey Taylor
B: 1992-04-15
D: 2017-05-17
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Taylor, Casey
Kathleen Byrd
B: 1948-01-22
D: 2017-05-13
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Byrd, Kathleen

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201 Oak Grove Road N.W.
Salem, OR 97304
Phone: (503) 585-1373
Fax: (503) 585-4443

What is a Funeral?

All we need to do is say the word "funeral" and within microseconds, you have an image in your mind of what a funeral looks like. This mental image comes from many sources: the geographical place, culture and society in which we live; our faith; our life experience. Obviously then, a funeral service in Borneo would look very different from one held in Tanzania; there are even significant differences between the funerals held in ethnically and/or geographically diverse regions of North America.

Yet, despite the differences, these funeral services have much in common. We invite you to read further to learn the really simple answer to the question "what is a funeral?" Should you have questions about what you read here, we encourage you to call us at (503) 585-1373. One of our funeral professionals will be delighted to explore the commonalities behind the wide spectrum of funeral ceremonies seen around the world.

What Makes a Funeral?

No matter where it's held, a funeral is a structured ceremony, with a beginning, middle and end. Each is intended to engage the living participants in activities which will transform their status within the community, provide mourners with a collective grieving experience, and celebrate a life lived. It's a socially-acceptable way for members of a community to re-affirm and express their social attachments.

Anthropologists label a funeral as a rite of passage, which affects everyone involved–including the deceased. His or her social status changes dramatically, from a living contributing member of the community to one whose contributions are in the past, and relegated to memory. But the status of each of the survivors– the immediate family most especially– has also changed. In fact, the funeral service can be the start of a defined period of mourning for bereaved family members, marking this transition in a uniquely identifiable way. 

It could be said then, the focus of a funeral - no matter where, no matter when - lies in acknowledging change. And without doubt, human beings (as individuals and as a community) have trouble dealing with profound changes like the death of an integral member of the group. When you take this perspective, it becomes easier to understand the importance of ceremonially acknowledging the tear in the social fabric and the symbolic restoration of its integrity.

Funeral Services in Our Area

For families and individuals living in this region (as elsewhere in the nation), a funeral service can mean many things. Some fall back on what is commonly called a "traditional funeral"; others see that same traditional service as an emotionally unfulfilling event. Fortunately, thanks to a number of unique social forces, there are alternatives. Today, end-of-life commemorative services range from the traditional funeral, to a memorial service and the increasingly popular celebrations-of-life. If you have yet to realize the immense value of such a collective acknowledgement of loss, reach out to us. Call (503) 585-1373 to speak with one of our experienced funeral service professionals.


Sources:  
Huntington, Richard and Peter Metcalf, Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual, Cambridge University Press, 1979.


 

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