1002 West Broad Street, Bethlehem, PA, 18018   info@downingfuneralhome.com


For our loved ones who will mourn our loss, and to meet some of the emotional needs for those who grieve.

Like a graduation ceremony, a wedding, or a baptism, a funeral recognizes our lives. It declares that a death has occurred and it commemorates the life that has been lived. It is important to realize that funerals are for the living.

A funeral offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one. Regardless of the final disposition, whether it is burial or cremation, it serves a purpose. When family and friends gather for the visitation and funeral service, they are better able to provide the emotional support for each other that is so needed at this time.

It helps those who grieve face the reality of death and to take the first step towards healthy emotional adjustment. Psychologists have know for a long time that denial is a natural part of the grieving process. Until a bereaved person truly accepts the fact that a death has occurred, no progress can be made in resolving grief. Research tells us that viewing the body helps to fulfill the psychological needs of those who are left behind.

Why Pre-Plan Your Funeral?

You can pre-arrange a service at today's prices, for tomorrow's needs. Pre-planning lessens the financial burden on family members - a burden that our loved ones may not be able to handle. By pre-planning, you assume the costs of the funeral while locking in today's prices. Discussing arrangements with your family is important, as the funeral affects them most directly. You may wish to leave your requests flexible to allow survivors to make appropriate arrangements for the fulfillment of their own emotional needs.

We do not know when death will occur...

Most of us have been planning for our lives and important events a long time. That's why pre-planning a funeral is a logical thing to do and there are many good reasons to do this now.

  • Express your own wishes
  • Avoid emotional over-spending by your loved ones
  • Avoid Medicaid "spend-down" that can deplete the money in your estate
  • Avoid conflicts among your loved ones
  • Relieve loved ones of financial burden
There are no shortcuts in the grief process. A meaningful service, tailored to the needs and desires of you and your family, will be an important occasion for your loved ones to share and experience together.

Making it Happen

At the funeral home, or in the privacy of your own home, your funeral director can help you pre-plan a traditional or non-traditional funeral. This may involve discussing your wishes with loved ones, explaining the procedures for handling your affairs, deciding on the kind of funeral you want, and selecting specific funeral items such as casket, vault and flowers.

The funeral can be paid for by whole life insurance or an annuity from the Loyal Christian Benefit Association (LCBA). You can make one payment or spread payments out over several years.

When you pre-plan with LCBA, you become a member of a century-old Christian fraternal association. Your membership entitles you to added benefits and provides support for local charities. Ask your funeral director for a brochure that explains these benefits or call LCBA at 1-800-234-5222 and ask for Member Service.

What Services are Available?

In our society, three basic forms of final disposition are practices. The first is earth burial, which continues to be the most often chooses. The traditional viewing and funeral service associated with burial helps to bring closure to friends and family. It provides an occasion for saying final good-byes.

Cremation is a process of preparing the body for final disposition by reducing the body over intense heat. The cremated remains are usually placed in a memorial urn which may be buried, placed in a memorial niche, or kept in some other location, such as a home.

Entombment in a crypt is one of the oldest forms of disposition, dating back to Christ. Today, most cemeteries maintain crypts for entombment which may in an outdoor garden or mausoleum.

Whether a ceremony is elaborate or simple, funerals are often personalized to reflect your life, and planned to hold special meaning for family and friends. It may reflect your religious beliefs as a re-affirmation of faith in greater life beyond this world, your occupation or hobbies, or it may center around your ethnic background or social affiliation.

Services that can be pre-planned include transfer from the place of death, obtaining the required legal documents, preparing your body for viewing, arranging for the final disposition, providing facilities for visitation and the funeral service, and transportation to the place of final disposition.

Please contact us for further details.

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