Ep. 392 The Evolution of the American Funeral with Todd Harra

Learn the fascinating history of some funeral customs in America and how the profession is changing.

My guest Todd Harra is a 4th generation funeral director, embalmer, post-mortem reconstructionist, and creationist who works for the family funeral business in Wilmington, Delaware. He is also an author of several books including his latest book Last Rites: The Evolution of the American Funeral. He discusses the fascinating history of many funeral customs here in the U.S. and why funerals are important. Learn more at his website:


Listen here:

This episode includes:

  • What inspired Todd to work in the family business as a funeral director
  • How this career provides lessons in grace and humility
  • Common myths and stigmas about the profession of funeral director
  • How the funeral industry continues to evolve
  • How and why the practice of embalming the dead began in the U.S.
  • The history of viewing the body before burial and why it may be helpful for mourners
  • The discovery at a Neanderthal burial site of evidence for early funeral practices
  • Why funerals are important and a vital step in the grieving process
  • When and why to include children in funerals
  • How technology will change funerals in the future
  • What we need to remember about the history of funerals as we move into the future

Links mentioned in this episode:

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