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The Importance of Pallbearers

Warford-Overstreet Mortuary has served Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle since 1962. We take pride in the fact that we have earned a reputation for a name that one can trust and dignified service that one can depend on. Warford-Overstreet Mortuary also, offers a dedicated limousine for pallbearers at no cost to our families. 

We have prepared this informational to help guide our client families in the selection of pallbearers. This information contains the role and responsibility of pallbearers.

As you make plans for your loved one’s funeral and burial, you have to take care of a lot of details. When the services are not planned in advance, the burden of decision-making falls on the friends and family of the deceased.

One detail that may be easy to overlook is the selection of pallbearers. However, when we remember the history of this tradition, it becomes one of the most important decisions we make. If you are unfamiliar with the role of the pallbearer, we hope you will use and find helpful the following information in making your choices.

The term pallbearer refers to a person that helps carry the coffin or casket of the deceased.

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When are Pallbearers Appropriate?

Pallbearers are appropriate at funerals. Since the role of the pallbearers is to carry or escort the casket, pallbearers are not needed at ceremonies where the deceased’s body is not present. However, ceremonial carrying roles can be created for memorial services and life celebrations.

Who can be a Pallbearer?

Traditionally, strong men acted as pallbearers because of the strenuous nature of the task. Before vehicles became commonplace, caskets often had to be carried many miles from the deceased’s home to church, funeral home, or cemetery. In earlier times, pallbearers were usually limited to close friends of the deceased.

Today, however, anyone can be a pallbearer. One may be a member of the deceased’s immediate family as well as a woman. In instances where one is not actually carrying the casket, Honorary pallbearers individually or as a group may be named.

Who should be chosen as a Pallbearer?

While there are no longer social expectations surrounding who can and cannot be a pallbearer, there are still practical considerations.

  1. Relationship with the deceased
  2. Availability
  3. Punctuality
  4. Physical Strength

How many Pallbearers are needed?

Normally six (6) people are required to carry a standard size adult casket. However, depending on circumstances such as weight concerns or awkward stairs at the church, more people may be required.

Advice for Pallbearers

  1. Always follow the instructions of the Funeral Director.
  2. Dress appropriately for this solemn occasion. Men should wear a dark suit with a white long sleeved shirt, a conservative tie and dark shoes. Women should wear a dark conservative dress or pantsuit along with sensible shoes that allow for carrying the casket without tripping.
  3. Arrive early. Make sure that you arrive at the Funeral Home or church at least thirty minutes prior to the procession’s departure to the church or other venue. This will give the Funeral Director adequate time to instruct you on pallbearing procedures and etiquette. It is important that you understand all of the Funeral Director’s instructions.
  4. Turn off your cell phone.
  5. Make your way promptly to the hearse after each stop.
  6. Walk slowly and in tempo with the other pallbearers.
  7. Tread carefully at the cemetery. The cemetery grounds can be soft and uneven.
  8. Plan to stay awhile after the funeral service is over. It is customary for the funeral party to stay after the funeral service to visit with the funeral guest.

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