Let Rod Do It: What’s it like to be a funeral director?

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – “I’m a person who likes peace and quiet, so for me, it works out very well.”

That’s how Wayne Bright likes his day. He’s the funeral director at Wilson’s Funeral Home. He’s done this for decades.

“People don’t see the behind the scenes work.”

On the day we visited, he showed News Channel 8’s Rod Carter what it’s like behind the scenes of a funeral home, aside from moving several really heavy caskets delivered each day.

Rod moved new caskets, worked on schedules and assisted with tribute videos for the families.

Rod did not do embalming or use any chemicals to treat the deceased. A person has to be licensed to do that.

Esther McGruder is another licensed funeral director at Wilson’s.

As she delicately applied makeup on a woman set to be buried, she said the challenge of the job isn’t the chemistry of embalming, the long hours or even being constantly surrounded by death.

“More so challenging for me, personally, would be babies and children. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mum myself… that is kind of tough,” McGruder said.

Grief and dignity are the things these professionals always keep in mind.

“Losing a loved one is a permanent thing. It’s nothing you can recuperate from. You may eventually heal, but that loss will always be there. I’m very conscience of that. I’m very conscience of knowing everything I do is so important,” Bright said.

In Florida, the average salary of a funeral director is $49,510 per year.

Salaries typically start from about $33,000 and go up to $81,000.

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