By Leader Contributor Jessie Rigney

We start off this edition of Leader Links with some tragic news, following a drive-by mass shooting that injured 15 people outside a funeral home in the South Side of Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times interviewed several funeral directors in the area about their experiences with gang violence — a problem that has been escalating in recent years. One local funeral director quoted in the article said his facility is limiting services to the morning hours. Other professionals in the area said they’ve been requesting the presence of police officers at funerals for gang members, but there is not much they can do to eliminate the threat of violence. Click here to read more.

At a time when Americans are struggling with questions of how to handle public safety, the team at is checking in with funeral directors for insights on how they handle physical conflict when it arises during the high emotions of funerals. Has your home ever had to deal with mourners’ emotions turning into fistfights or other physical confrontation? Are there best practices you would recommend to other funeral homes, or any practices to avoid? If you have insights and experiences on this topic that you’d like to share, please drop a line to

Below are other stories about the latest happenings within our industry.

As we continue to push through the summer months, it appears the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon. Here’s a look at how leaders across the industry are reacting to the latest developments within our industry, including funeral directors, cemeterians, and government agencies.

To offer an inside look at what happens behind the scenes at funeral homes, one Illinois-based funeral director created a reality television series.

What appears to be a children’s 16th-century cemetery has recently been found in southeast Poland. Click here to find out why the remains are believed to be of Greek origin.

Many become funeral directors because it’s the family business, but one Georgia-based man went from washing cars to co-owning a funeral home. Read his story here.

Some funeral directors are positive that services and gatherings will forever change due to COVID-19. Read a few different perspectives here.

Three children could be facing charges after damaging at least 50 headstones at the Elwood City Cemetery in Indiana. Click here to read the details.

To stay up to date with industry standards, the Michigan house recently voted for higher education standards for funeral directors. Rodney Wakeman, a state representative, says COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of funeral directors and their role in keeping their communities safe.

Many funeral directors will say they don’t need daily COVID-19 updates to see the toll it’s taking on their communities. One Alabama professional says their firm is seeing double the amount of funerals, even though groups are currently limited to 75 or less.

It goes without saying that funerals across the country have felt limited and unfulfilled. Read about the impact this has had on funeral directors in the United Kingdom.

Have an article or story you’d like to share? Email your comments to

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