by: Lauren Coleman
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – At first look R. Bernard Funeral Services on Lamar Avenue may look like any other mortuary in Memphis, but its state of the art drive thru viewing area sets it apart from the rest.
Director Ryan Bernard said only a handful of funeral homes in the country offer this feature, and they’re the only one in Tennessee.
“I got the idea from a funeral home out in California,” Bernard said.
“I thought it was something new. I thought it would be neat to add to the Memphis area. Just to add something unique to our funeral home.”
The family-owned funeral home opened its doors at the end of January.
Bernard said they’ve had four drive thru viewings since they opened.
“We had people just pulling up actually just being nosy,” Bernard said.
“They saw it on Facebook, they heard it through friends and they just wanted to come by. They didn’t even know the people that was in the viewing room.”
Bernard said guests sign-in on an iPad and once they pull up they will have about three minutes to pay their last respects.
The funeral home offers this feature free of charge with their regular in-house viewings.
“They would have a visitation here,” Bernard said. “Then we’d set up like an hour for the family to come view or right before the visitation. But they get one hour and it’s free.”
Bernard said the drive thru is convenient for those who may lack or have limited mobility.
“You’ll be surprised how many people who just can’t stomach coming into a funeral home. They’re scared so it offers convenience to those,” Bernard explained.
The funeral home also offers live stream viewing for out of town family members, and will open a crematory viewing room in the next few weeks.