Funeral home offering Webcast funerals

Published 10:04 pm Saturday, May 10, 2008

By Staff
Seven produced since April 12; changes coming
Senior Reporter
For people unable to attend some funerals, Webcasts allow those people to view those funerals as they occur or afterward.
Washington’s Paul Funeral Home is offering funeral Webcasts among the other services it provides.
The funeral home’s first Webcast was April 12. It has produced six Webcasts since.
A family member of a deceased person was not able to attend a recent funeral because that person, who is in the military, was in Iraq.
Hodges said that Webcast showed how that technology may provide a positive experience for a bereaved family.
Spokesmen with other funeral homes in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Washington counties said their funeral homes do not offer Webcasts. They said providing Webcasts of funerals is an item of interest to their funeral homes.
Ellery Bowker, the president and founder of a North Carolina company that specializes in designing Webcast packages for funeral homes, said his company’s Webcast technology is being used in 12 funeral homes statewide.
According to the N.C. Funeral Directors’ Association, Webcast technology in the funeral industry is in the developmental stage in North Carolina and is being cultivated in areas across the United States.
Before Webcasts of funerals were offered, Hodges said, said a family could request a funeral be videotaped so they would have a video record of the service.
In July 2006, the funeral home began working with a company to offer videotaped tributes as an option to funeral packages.
A video tribute, available on the Internet, contains photographs that were taken throughout the lifetime of a deceased person.
The company that developed the video-tribute package for the funeral home suggested the Webcast feature to Hodges.
The funeral home does not charge for Webcast. If a family wants an audio compact disc or taped audio recording of a funeral, either is available for $15. If a family wants a video CD or video recording of the service, either is available for $25.
Currently, the funeral home’s Webcast service is restricted to a funeral occurring at the funeral home’s chapel, where a stationary camera is mounted.
The camera photographs the chapel’s pulpit, where the person officiating at the funeral is located. The casket is in full view, and flowers may be seen around the casket.
Hodges said the funeral home will soon have a camera that will show more of the chapel. In the future, he said, a movable camera that photographs more of the chapel will be installed.
Some families have asked for copies of Webcasts because they want to give them to family members who missed parts of funerals because of lapses in their concentration, Hodges said.
To view a Webcast of a Paul Funeral Home service, go to and click on “current obituaries.” Pull up the list of deceased individuals, click on a name and go to the bottom of the page. If that funeral is on a Webcast, click on “view funeral service” and it should appear.