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15 04, 2015

To Move The Urn, Or Not

It’s no secret that more and more people are selecting cremation over traditional burial for their end-of-life planning. As we have highlighted on this blog previously, many families opt to place the cremated remains of their loved one within their home in a decorative or uniquely personalized urn. By doing this, your loved one forever feels close to the family and is easily able to be fondly remembered.

Often times, in the event of an untimely or early passing, a spouse will not only provide their blessing, but will implore their surviving husband or wife to seek happiness as life progresses without them. In a recently written and very interesting article, one such instance was highlighted where a husband was able to remarry after the passing of his wife and mother of his two children. The urn of his deceased wife was, even after the wedding, kept in the family living room of the house. While keeping her near was no doubt a source of comfort for both he and his two children, it is understandable how an ever present reminder could stir feelings of insecurity in his new wife.

The memory of a loved one and how we are connected to them is different for each person. As noted in the article, the insecurity of the new wife likely led her to broach the topic of relocating the urn to a less prominent place in the home in a manner that was perceived as having been insensitive by the children and her husband. She asks, “Was I wrong to ask my husband to move his late wife’s urn?” The answer is, “Of course not.” But there is more to it than that.  (more…)

11 04, 2015

Stan Hochman 1928-2015

For better than 50 years, The City of Brotherly Love was fortunate to have the blessing that was Stan Hochman, husband, father, grandfather, writer, broadcaster, and philanthropist. We lost a distinctive and unique voice that sought not only to present us the facts and statistics of each game or match he covered, but also delved into the motivations and personalities of those in the competition.

As noted in the stirring remembrance by Tom Mahon at the Philadelphia Daily News, “…Hochman was a people person. Wrote about them. Cared about them.” And it was always evident in each piece he penned for the paper. From the heartbreaking collapse of the 1964 Phillies squad to Joe Frazier being bested by Ali in the “Thrilla From Manilla”, to number 8 seed Villanova’s unprecedented (and, as yet, unmatched) 1985 NCAA Final Four Championship win over Georgetown, to championships brought home to Philadelphia by our Sixers, Phillies, and Flyers. His was a style that not only informed but educated and entertained.  (more…)

18 01, 2015

Searching for Little Ty

On August 12, 1967, Tyrone R. Parler celebrated his 23rd birthday aboard the Gen. Nelson M. Walker troop ship sailing his way towards Vietnam and the war. As he lay on his bunk bed, he scrawled a quick note on the canvas which read “Little Ty from 1-2 Poplar St. TenderLions, North Philly, slept here on his way to the war. Will be back Aug. 1968. See you at the Blue Sal!”

Parler passed away some 33 years later in 2001 without knowing that his message had been preserved by people who were looking for him. It wasn’t until December 2014 that the Virginia military historian searching for “Little Ty” discovered that he had died many years before. By that time, much of Parler’s story had already been pieced together. (more…)

12 01, 2015

South Philly Remembers Jazz Legend

Back in the heyday of Big Band and Swing, the clarinet was considered king. With it’s woody and breathy tones, the clarinet brought a power and nuance well suited for the optimistic sounds of the early 30s and 40s. Few clarinet players of the day are as well known as Buddy DeFranco, a child of South Philly and a true musical pioneer who only recently passed away at the age of 91. DeFranco was there to transition music from all out swing to the improvisational bebop sound, recorded with heavy hitters such as Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, and even hosted his own shown on public television. He is survived by his wife and his son.

On February 17, 1923, Bonifacio Ferdinando Leonardo DeFranco was born. His father, a blind piano tuner with his own great musical talent, quickly shortened the name to “Buddy.” Though he’s now revered as one of the world’s best clarinet players, Buddy DeFranco actually picked up the Mandolin first when he was only five years old. Then, at age nine, his father spent the family’s rent money on his first clarinet, thus setting him on his path to become a great legend. Buddy quickly took to the instrument after receiving classical training from the Mastbaum School in Philadelphia, but was instantly hooked by the new jazz sound that was taking hold in America. When he was only 16, DeFranco was on tour with the Johhny “Scat” Davis Big Band and spent the next five years working with different groups on the road. (more…)

20 11, 2014

Cremation Gaining Acceptance with Philadelphia Churches

More than one-third of people who need end-of-life services choose cremation in the state of Pennsylvania. According to the Cremation Association of North America, the rate is increasing. By 2016, nearly half of all deceased individuals in Pennsylvania will be cremated.

Factors contributing to the increase in cremation include cost, environmental impact, and geographic trends that show people moving away from their hometowns. Another important factor is the growing acceptance of cremation among Western churches. While cremation has been the favored end-of-life service for Buddhists and those of other Eastern faiths, Western churches have only recently accepted the practice. While Catholics have rules surrounding the practice of cremation, i.e. that you must have both a funeral and burial in tandem with cremation, Protestant churches have more quickly embraced the trend.

In Philadelphia, several churches have anticipated the growing popularity of cremation and created structures to accommodate cremated remains. Downington’s Hopewell United Methodist Church constructed a memorial garden and two columbaria and has four more structures in the works. At The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, the number of cremations is three times the number of traditional burials, which prompted the creation of two new columbaria to house the remains. At Paoli Presbyterian Church, people are racing to reserve space for their cremated remains in the church’s memorial brick wall. Approximately 100 people have already reserved space. (more…)

  • Leonard B. Sokolove
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    Obit: Former Bucks County Judge, Attorney, and Local Liberal Lion, Leonard B. Sokolove, 88

6 11, 2014

Obit: Former Bucks County Judge, Attorney, and Local Liberal Lion, Leonard B. Sokolove, 88

Leonard B. Sokolove, jurist, attorney, soldier, father, and husband, passed away on Monday, November 3 at age 88. He was remembered this week by close friends, colleagues, and family.

As reported in The Inquirer, Sokolove had a passion for the law, and it was evident in his life’s work. His commitment to fairness, family, Philadelphia, and country was defined and displayed by his character throughout his life.

Sokolove served his country bravely in World War II, earning the Bronze Star for bravery during the Battle of the Bulge. Sokolove risked his life in the face of enemy fire to retrieve a wounded soldier and return him to safety. Serving as a radioman in the 63rd Infantry, Sokolove would also receive a Purple Heart for being wounded in battle. (more…)

17 10, 2014

A Stormy Night Find

The end of October and the Halloween holiday are usually the time for stories involving mystery and the macabre. Utah apparently believes late September is as good a time as any to present the world with one of these stories that, if not spine tingling, at least confounds.

Randi Deem of Washington City, Utah explained to Kimberly Scott of the St. George News how on a dark and stormy night, a neighbor fixated on digging into the earth to replace his rain-washed out patio, and her own curious daughters at play in the vacant lot dotted with large rocks amidst the clay red dirt, came together to reveal a decorative wooden box containing a shocking discovery.

“The box looks just like a little tiny – maybe a jewelry case or a little handmade wooden – like a little music box or something perhaps,” Deem said, continuing, “You can tell it’s handmade and there’s some detailing on the front. On the top, on the lid, there’s some flowers they’ve kind of etched into the top of the lid. It’s really quite pretty. They’ve gone to a lot of work, whoever made this little box.” (more…)

15 10, 2014

Preparing With A Plan

There are several events throughout our lives that require a level of planning down to the most minute detail. Vacations, weddings, first days of school, and moving from one home to the other. If we attempted any of these without putting a decent amount of thought to them first, there is certainly no way we could expect them to come off successfully. Why do we think our funeral is an occasion that we can put off planning for?

Speaking with the Journal-Times of Racine, Wisconsin, Anne Meredith of Maresh-Meredith and Acklam Funeral Home explains that preplanning a funeral is about more than simply picking out a casket. “They’re sharing their whole life,” Meredith said of the process. She said preplanning allows for “personalizing and selecting the funeral of your choice and your budget.” (more…)

10 10, 2014

Preplanning Your Cremation Is Good For Your Young Family

Planning for the future is important at every stage of life, but it’s perhaps most important for young families. Making preparations many years in advance can be daunting, especially considering the uncertainty of the future. Moreover, it can be uncomfortable discussing any plans for what happens to loved ones at the end of life. Though it may be uncomfortable now, preplanning cremation offers benefits and options which may not be available later on. With these plans laid out in advance, families are allowed to celebrate the life of their loved one rather than worry about funeral services. Preplanning also ensures affordable arrangements with prices which can be locked in at today’s rates.

Plan the perfect celebration for you.

So much in life is uncertain. Preplanning a cremation is one way to make sure one’s final wishes are carried out as they want them. By choosing this increasingly popular option, those who preplan their cremation can make some final decisions about how they are celebrated and remembered. By working with a funeral director, services, final resting spots, and urns can all be decided on ahead of time. Preplanning a cremation means families don’t have to make these decisions in times of grief. This can be of particular importance to those with young families.

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    Try Before You Die? Japanese Funeral Expo Offers Glimpse Into Future

18 09, 2014

Try Before You Die? Japanese Funeral Expo Offers Glimpse Into Future

Many people choose to voice their final wishes ahead of time, but attendees of the Shukatsu Festa expo in Japan are taking final planning to a new level. The expo, attended by more than 5,000 visitors and 50 funeral businesses, lets people experience their own funeral service.

Attendees are able to select a casket, put on a funeral outfit, have their makeup and hair done, and pose as a corpse inside a casket. A picture of the “deceased” is taken so that the individual is able to see exactly what he or she will look like on the day of their funeral. Shukatsu Festa, while macabre to some, has much in common with a typical wedding expo, where attendees are able to plan and personalize their services to their heart’s content. Female attendees enjoyed choosing a white kimono – the traditional color of death garb in Japan – or nontraditional pastels. (more…)