Utah student makes big business of putting funerals online

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OGDEN -- It's no secret that computers and the Internet have charged our lives in numerous ways. A Weber State senior started up an online business a couple of years ago that's very successful, even though people might raise their eyebrows at first when they learn about it.

In 2006, Curtis Funk started Funeralrecording.com. He works with funeral homes from coast to coast, recording services and putting them online.

"I would think we've done over 10,000 funerals," Funk says.

He works with about 200 funeral homes in the country and records services at about 50 percent of those in Utah.

Getting the services recorded and onto a website comes a couple of different ways. Funk has equipment that he'll lease to a funeral director: camera, laptop, tripod. It's connected to a computer.

"We developed a technology and made it so simple that even a funeral director can handle it I guess," Funk says.

The service is recorded on Funk's website, and then he and his staff edit out the pauses and make DVD copies, which are sent to the funeral homes that then pass them along to the families.

Some of his clients, such as Jenkins-Soffe Funeral Chapel in South Jordan, have installed their own systems to record and feed to the website. The camera, mounted on the rear wall of the chapel, can be remotely controlled in a nearby room. The camera operator can pan from side to side and zoom in on the podium when someone is speaking.

Kurt Soffe is a fourth-generation funeral director and says webcasting is the "buzz" in the funeral industry right now.

"Families and individuals who are unable to attend the service are able to view it live, as it's happening; or it can be archived on our websites for future viewing," Soffe says.

Funk says reaction to his funeral recording services has been good.

"We've received letters and emails from people who've been able to watch a service or listen to a service that they weren't able to attend, and they mentioned how it helped them to go through the grieving process because they were able to attend the funeral remotely," he says

There are a handful of businesses in the country that provide these services; FuneralRecording.com may be one of the biggest players.

The company is making money, but Funk says he puts much of the profits back into the business. As far as the future goes, after he graduates from Weber State he is to keep growing the business. There are about 21,000 funeral homes in the country, and he wants to work with them all.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord


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