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SAGINAW, Mich. — Those wary of entering funeral homes may have a new option to pay respects to the dead via a drive-thru window.
Paradise Funeral Chapel in Saginaw, Michigan, is not the first funeral home to offer drive-thru visitations, but its recent opening has garnered national attention. Ivan Phillips, the home’s president, told M Live he had the idea for years but was moved to make the drive-thru a reality when an elderly woman was unable to come into the chapel for her husband’s funeral.
She would have been able to attend if the drive-thru had been available, so others might benefit from it as well, he said. There are only three other funeral homes with a drive-thru option in the U.S., according to Phillips.
"Considering the elderly generation that we service, so many people are afraid of funeral homes. So why not be able to do it from your car?" he asked M Live.
Considering the elderly generation that we service, so many people are afraid of funeral homes. So why not be able to do it from your car?
When people drive up to the visitation window in a car, a sensor triggers the curtains to open and music to begin playing, according to Michigan ABC affiliate WJRT. There is a box to deposit cards and visitors can sign a guest book stored in a retractable door.
The curtains, which remain open for three minutes, offer privacy for the family, Phillips told WJRT. M Live reported the drive-thru is only used when no indoor visitations are taking place.
No families have opted to use the drive-thru window yet since it became available Sunday, Phillips told WJRT. He held an open-house Sunday to introduce the service to the community.