Funeral services continue during cold snap - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Funeral services continue during cold snap

Posted: Updated:
WATERLOO (KWWL) - Folks in the funeral industry admit services can get tricky in winter months, but they must go on.

Funeral Director at Redman-Schwartz Funeral Home Travis Bouska said in his six years at the funeral home, he's only had to cancel a service once because of weather.

"It's a one time deal. You have one chance to get it right," he said.

He said there are a lot of people involved in the process, so canceling or postponing a traditional funeral service and ground burial can be chaotic.

"Depending on if we had a recent snow storm or ice storm, sometimes there might be an additional day in there that cemeteries, or grave diggers as they're referred to, need time to thaw the ground which typically is something that's done overnight over a 24-hour period," he said.

Bouska said he worries about people tripping and falling on ice or snow.

"The minute the casket makes it to the grave site and they have it up on the equipment, it's kind of a sigh of relief," he said.

Bouska said it can be difficult to keep the vehicles clean in winter months, but that their funeral homes are equipped to wash the hearse inside a heated garage if necessary.

He also said it's also difficult to dress for colder weather because there is an expectation that funeral directors wear a suit and tie.

"The majority of people are used to, or maybe expect, a funeral director in a suit and tie and suit coat, and anybody that has bought a suit before knows how thick that they aren't. There's a lack of warmth there, but we do wear long underwear underneath the suit, and extra gloves and hats out in the cemetery when it's cold," he said.

"And most families are understanding," said Bouska.

Meanwhile, employees from Wilbert Vault Company have to brave the cold temperatures since they're responsible for setting up dozens of grave sites across Northeast Iowa every week.

"I feel like it's an important thing to get done, and you get done working even in the bad weather, you let the family know that we do care and want to get your loved ones buried," said Ken Bradley who has helped set up grave sites with Wilbert Vault Company for more than 12 years.

Bradley and his co-worker Troy Niedert set up a site on Wednesday.

"When it comes down to the vault men, we're out there no matter what the weather is like," said Bradley.

"We get no choice in the matter," he said.

Both Bradley and Niedert said in the extreme cold temperatures, they'll work for 10-15 minutes and then go back inside their vehicle to warm up since most of the work is done without gloves on.

"Oh you get your days in the winter when the winds are blowing and the snow's flying, and it can be pretty miserable out there...but you've got to get the job done," said Bradley.

Bradley said the springtime is the hardest season for them to work in because of the soft, muddy ground.
  • NEWSNEWSMore>>

  • NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:57:07 GMT
    The NCAA has agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing...More >>
    The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football,...More >>
  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:50:11 GMT
    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.More >>
    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.More >>
  • Governor requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 Iowa counties

    Governor requests Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 Iowa counties

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-07-29 16:26:45 GMT
    Governor Terry Branstad signed a letter on Tuesday to be delivered to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from severe weather that occurred between June 26 and July 7, 2014.The counties included in the request are the following: Audubon, Black Hawk, Butler, Cedar, Des Moines, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Tama and Wash...More >>
    Governor Terry Branstad signed a letter on Tuesday to be delivered to President Obama requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 22 Iowa counties where significant damage was sustained from severe weather that occurred between June 26 and July 7, 2014.The counties included in the request are the following: Audubon, Black Hawk, Butler, Cedar, Des Moines, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Mahaska, Muscatine, Poweshiek, Tama and Wash...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KWWL. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.