7 Funeral Influencers to Watch in 2018

We’re constantly on the lookout for exciting funeral professionals who continue to step into the spotlight and inspire others in our profession.  

By innovating the ways they serve their changing families and connect with other funeral professionals, these funeral influencers have become quite successful at what they do. And we’re dedicated to sharing their achievements and letting you know where you can follow them to get inspired and stay up-to-date on their goals and plans for the new year.

The following 8 funeral influencers continue to impress us as they find creative ways of connecting with their community, families and funeral professionals in 2018.


1. Rupert & Claire Callender

Let’s begin with Rupert and Claire Callender, a husband and wife team of funeral directors that founded the Green Funeral Company in 2000, out of Devon, England. This inspirational power couple dubbed themselves “radical undertakers” and the term suits them perfectly. They provide their families with ecological alternatives to traditional funeral services that consist of natural burials and a whole-heartedly, open-minded approach to funeral planning.

Their Ted Talk on “Death, Grief, Ritual and Radical Funerals,” is worth watching as Ruppert and Claire explain how they help their families through their funeral planning process by using a stripped back, involved approach that is incredibly emotionally rewarding. At the end of the day, Ruppert and Claire believe that “a good funeral is for the living but about the dead – and honors both. It stands at the core of what it means to be a human.”

Follow Rupert & Claire Callender on Twitter @GreenFuneralCo  


2. Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty is not your average funeral director. Not only has she adopted a burial process that nourishes the planet but she is the author of the best selling book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons From the Crematory, in which she shares her experiences as a funeral professional and leads us to form more accepting relationships with death.

To do this, she also uses her popular YouTube Channel, Ask a Mortician, that has over 380,000 subscribers and includes videos that answer common questions related to death planning. But that’s not her only way of breaking the culture of silence surrounding death in an open and honest way. Her blog, The Order of The Good Death features a group of expert funeral professionals who guest post and contribute valuable insights related to death and funeral planning.

Subscribe to Caitlin Doughty’s YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/OrderoftheGoodDeath


3. Amber Carvaly

Amber rocks a “Death Positive” shirt on her Instagram, @yoshimidreams

There are few licensed funeral directors who regularly inspire others in the profession the way Amber Carvaly does. With the help of her business partner, Caitlin Doughty, Amber runs a progressive funeral home called Undertaking LA that is committed to being honest and transparent about all aspects of the funeral planning process.

She uses her blog, Death and the City to discuss her fair and honest pricing plans as well as her options for simplifying home funerals and cremations. As a testament to her rising success as a funeral professional, Amber has been featured in the New York Times for encouraging more family involvement in end-of-life rituals and The California Sunday Magazine for reimaging the traditional funeral home experience.

Check out Amber Cavaly’s blog here: https://deathandthecity.me/


4. Lauren LeRoy

As the youngest licensed funeral director and manager at the Daniel R. Smolarek Funeral Home in Western, NY, Lauren LeRoy maintains a lively online presence as a funeral service storyteller and a well respected funeral influencer. She’s known as Little Miss Funeral and she uses her blog and her YouTube channel to connect with her fellow funeral professionals.

While her blog posts detail her personal experiences as funeral director since she started writing it in 2012, her YouTube videos, including her recent ones, “All About Death Certificates,” and “Cremation Questions Answered!” educate other funeral professionals about the ins and outs of the death care industry.

Check out Lauren LeRoy’s blog here: https://littlemissfuneral.com/

5. Jeff Jorgenson

Jeff Jorgenson is another funeral influencer who is heading a change in his chosen profession by offering his families environmentally aware funeral services. He continues to pioneer the funeral profession by offering services that reduce waste, increase participation in habitat restoration and develop local economy strengths while creating personalized experiences that best reflect his families values.

Jeff also has an inspiring blog on his funeral home website, Elemental Cremation & Burial, where you can follow him as he writes about his professional experiences as a funeral director in Seattle, Washington. This past year, Jeff has also been featured in a fascinating CNN piece on the rising popularity of cremation in the U.S., in addition being featured in The Stranger where he discusses why Seattle is becoming one of the best places for alternative death care. As a frequent contributor to Caitlin Doughty’s blog, The Order of the Good Death, he also educates other funeral professionals about the cutting edge technology called alkaline hydrolysis that has the potential to drastically reduce our carbon footprint when it comes to the cremation process.

Check out Jeff Jorgenson’s blog here: http://www.elementalnw.com/category/elemental-undertakings/


6. Michael and Patrick Carlson

Carson Funeral Home’s website developed by funeralOne.

The compassionate brothers, Michael and Patrick Carlson of Carlson Funeral Home in Brunswick, Ohio are innovative funeral directors who understand the necessity of embracing technology to connect with their families and friends.

With the help of funeralOne, their website was revamped to better enhance the ways they interact with families online. Today their families can access online counseling services, join in group grief support and watch interactive videos from the comfort of their home to cope with the depth of emotions and experiences that are part of the healthy grieving process.

As their good-hearted motto goes, “you take care of each other and we’ll take care of everything else,” – and that they do very well.

Follow Carson Funeral Home on Twitter @CarlsonFuneral


7. Danny Jefferson

Danny Jefferson was awarded Funeral Director of the year by American Funeral Director.

Finally, we here at funeralOne can’t help but be inspired by Danny Jefferson of Pierce-Jefferson Funeral and Cremation Service. This year Danny has earned the respect and admiration of his professional colleagues and has been awarded Funeral Director of the Year for 2017 by the American Funeral Director magazine.

Despite being born legally deaf before hearing aids became popularized, Danny progressed as a funeral director for over 45 years of service and he is cherished by the community of families and friends that he serves. The numerous testimonials on his website outline his commitment to provide genuine funeral services that sincerely help his families through their grieving process.

The publishers had this to say about Danny’s commitment to the funeral service: “Danny Jefferson is moving funeral service forward, embracing change and technology when it helps improve service and rediscovering old traditions when modern trends call for it.”

Click here to learn more about Danny Jefferson as he’s awarded the 2017 Funeral Director of the Year.


Overall, every one of these funeral professionals has demonstrated what it means to be an innovator as they come up with new and improved ways to serve their families in 2018.

 We’d like to know: which impressive funeral professionals are you watching these days? Is there a Funeral Director that continues to inspire and motivate you? If so, please share their names and your thoughts below and we might feature him or her on our next blog post!


Rochelle Rietow


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  1. Kim

    Melissa Unfred (the Modern Mortician) and her grief therapy dog Kermit are wonderful activists in Texas who promote natural burial and affordable services. She helped guide our family after a death.