Richard Jungas, head of California Funeral Alternatives in Escondido, was our guest speaker this morning at the Hidden Valley Kiwanis Club of Escondido. This was his second time as an invited guest speaker. Absolutely brilliant and fascinating presentation!
Calm, matter-of-fact presentation, lots of questions and answers. Dick would make an outstanding speaker at your civic or service club. One doesn't normally think of a mortician as an outstanding guest speaker . . Dick is. And it's a subject many of us really need to know more about and understand.
Just some of the points Dick pointed out in his presentation:
• About 67% of families scheduling funerals in San Diego County choose cremation.
• At his own business, his percentge is closer to 75%.
• The reasons for the increase in cremations have to do with a changing of cultural traditions, also geographic considerations. It used to be that traditional open or closed casket funerals would be conducted and then a burial service would follow at a local cemetery. As people moved from the east coast and midwest, and become more and more disconnected with families, family tradition gave way to more alternative types of services and/or dispositions. There has also been a change in the various religious nature of funerals. For many years, for example, the Catholic Church would not allow cremations. That has changed where it is now generally accepted. (I believe Judaism still prohibits them, but I could be wrong).
What was great about this presentation is that nothing was off-limits. He would answer any question asked. He discussed how cremations were carried out, how 'cremains' were disposed of (you can scatter them at sea, in the mountains, in your backyard, or keep them in your home; it's all legal). He discussed methods of cremation, both traditional as well as new procedures.
Dick handled a subject that many of us are traditionally uncomfortable discussing in such a manner that we were not only comfortable discussing it but were eager to ask questions and/or to make comments. It was a first class presentation.
The first time Dick spoke to us it was because the scheduled guest speaker didn't show up . . . so, Dick was asked to speak and he absolutely held our club spellbound with his presentation.
Evelyn Madison needed a guest speaker for this morning and I strongly recommended Dick as it had been about five or six years since Dick last spoke to us. Fortunately, he was available and agreed to speak. Our meetings normally end at 8:30am. We stayed there till 8:50am. No one got up to leave. Everyone was interested in what Dick had to say and several more still had questions when we finally had to leave the room to make way for another group who had booked the room.
Give Dick a call. He'll be a brilliant, fascinating speaker for you as well.
(If you live outside of the local area (North San Diego County) check with one of your local mortuaries. See if you can identify a funeral director who knows his (or her) stuff. Most importantly, identify if he or she is a good speaker. You will likely be suprised at what an interesting program develops.)