Do-it-yourself funerals can save you money

Published: Friday, August 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 31, 2003 at 9:58 p.m.
In June, Reuters profiled Jerri Lyons, 55, of Sebastopol, Calif., who conducts seminars on the legalities and etiquette of do-it-yourself funerals, which are becoming more popular as alternatives to $5,000 funeral home services. According to one Lyons client, personally bathing and dressing a deceased friend made the loss easier to accept. Tip: Ice must be applied after about 24 hours (packages of frozen vegetables OK). A funeral-industry analyst said Lyons was not a threat; of more concern to the industry these days was, as Reuters put it, "a soft mortality rate due in part to a weak flu season."
  • Headlines: (1) "Man gets life sentence for spitting" (a Tulsa World report on the sentence of domestic abuser John Marquez, 36, who got one year for the assault and life for spitting on the arresting officer, Sapulpa, Okla., May). (2) "Male infertility can be passed on to children" (a Reuters story on Cornell professor Gianpiero Palermo's work, which reports that sperm from a low-sperm-count man can be injected into an egg to create an embryo, but that the embryo will still possess the genetic defect that led to the father's low sperm count, July).
  • According to a wrongful firing lawsuit filed in June by a former media relations assistant for the Sacramento Kings pro basketball team, star player Doug Christie is not permitted to speak to any female other than his wife, for any reason. The assistant said she was fired because she innocently passed along a telephone message to Christie in the course of her work, but that when Mrs. Christie found out, she pressured the organization to fire her and reaffirm the Christie family policy.
  • Earlier this year in Mobile, Ala., Daina Sancho, 42, and Irwin Vincent ("I.V.") O'Rourke III, 14, were married after months of courtship. Said the boy's approving father (of Sancho's infatuation), "If you've met the man of your dreams, why wait?" The couple live in Gonzales, La., but I.V. could not marry there until he turns 16; Alabama permits 14-year-olds to marry if they have their parents' permission.
  • The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said the June test launch of an SM-3 rocket in Hawaii, which failed to hit the incoming missile it was programmed to shoot down, was not a failure but actually a success. Said MDA spokesman Chris Taylor, "(I)ntercept was not the primary objective," but rather, the gathering of "great engineering data" was. (A recent General Accounting Office report criticized the MDA for using "immature technology.")
  • Gilbert D. Walker, 43, arrested (and then released) in Panama City after allegedly breaking into a neighbor's house and chasing her with a dagger, said the problem was that he drank too much jasmine tea (July). And heroin-cocaine addict Amanda C. Hagan, 29, brought to a Norristown, Pa., hospital after an overdose, reportedly said it was the hospital's fault she shot up again in her bed because it let in the visitor who resupplied her (June). And fired Rochester, N.Y., police officer Clint Jackson, 24, convicted of fondling eight women during traffic stops, said he was contemplating a lawsuit against the police department for inadequate training (July).
  • In June in the state penitentiary near Indiana, Pa., Raymond Davenport, 19, doing time for aggravated assault, told fellow inmates he did not believe them when they told him that another inmate had recently gotten his hand stuck in a prison toilet. It was impossible, he said, and - watch this - he would show them. A short while later, guards had to call in firefighters with an air chisel to free Davenport's arm.
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