When Important People Die, He’s There

You’ve probably never heard of Robert M. Boetticher Sr., but he has helped arrange the funeral services of multiple presidents, first ladies and celebrities.

Comments: 5

  1. If Mr. Boetticher does a good job and provides a grieving family with a measure of relief and comfort, then good on him. That's his job. What really impresses me is that he's done this for so many high profile families. It's not easy to do any job perfectly--especially not when the pressure is so high and any mistake will be highly visible.

  2. I wonder if the collection of euphemisms in this article--about death, about funeral salesmen--is simply the happy lexicon of the businessman. In Matairie, LA, a "Traditional Funeral Service" will cost $9,191. The per capita income for Metairie is $24,771. So, should you be talked into a fine service and coffin, it will cost you 37% of your gross income.

  3. @Profbart Most funeral providers offer a wide range of services and prices. All are fully disclosed according to law. A good funeral director will reassure families of modest means that cost need not define the occasion. Sometimes families themselves believe spending big somehow equates with respect and love. It doesn't but families need to discuss and prepare before the fact so that there are no budget wrecking surprises---because there need not be if you are dealing with a reputable and responsible establishment. Many funeral homes do not collect their charges upfront but still bill customers later. It does not make much sense to sell something a family cannot pay for and something a business cannot repossess.

  4. @Profbart it is well to remember that most people do have some life insurance and they have assets--some of them prearrange their own rites and have the money put aside for that purpose. People who die having no assets are cared for by the state or county. It is not common for one family member to be burdened with the entire cost of a funeral or a cremation for a relative who has zero assets at death. Yes funeral services are a business, but many are far from the "funeral salesman" businessman you assume. They are high capital requirement businesses which are staffed 365 days a year. For most, a good reputation in the community is their main asset.

  5. I realize this article was likely prompted by Jimmy Carter’s recent mishap but one can hope.