Century-old funeral home working to preserve & celebrate life despite gathering order


AUSTIN, TEXAS (KXAN) — Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused Gov. Greg Abbott to limit gatherings to 10 people, honoring a loved ones death has looked much different.

“We’ve been in the community for over 100 years,” said Stuart King, Director of King Tears Mortuary. “It means mostly community and commitment. I love our ministry, I love what we do. There’s a lot of history.”

Celebrating and preserving that history is what King does at the King Tears Mortuary. In the current state of the country, he’s seen some unconventional services.

“Funeral homes are doing live streaming,” said King.

The memorial service itself is now reserved for close family members only.

“They’re not able to get the full effect of their love which is disturbing, because we are social animals,” King said. “Some people can’t say goodbye to them because they can’t be at the service.”

At the King Tears Mortuary, he’s seeing more people choose to cremate, or have their loved ones body held for the foreseeable future.

“A lot of people don’t believe in cremation,” said King. “Those are the people that will hold the body out for a couple weeks, but we don’t know when this is going to end.”

It’s a period of grief with an unknown ending. Not only that, but King is facing another challenge.

“The state workers. They’re working from home. You cannot print off a death certificate from home,” said King. “They have skeleton crew. Right now, we are ordering the death certificates online, but what I’ve seen this week is, most death certificates that come from the medical examiners office, it’ll say pending.”

Prolonging their grief even more. For now, King is doing everything in his power to preserve and celebrate those who have touched this world.

“We really sometimes take it for granted about what we do,” said King.

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