This is a must read article. It is wonderfully written and tells a story of great social significance. The story in a nutshell is that there is a lucrative market in the United States for “plus” size coffins. Often these coffins won’t fit in hearses, require purchase of a double plot and won’t fit through funeral home doors.
I get a vision of a funeral where the coffin is delivered by some kind of truck, hopefully black.
The implications for this society are scary.
Please read the whole article.
In death, as in life, one size doesn’t fit all | Al Jazeera America
Eating into an early grave
If anyone can do a snap survey of the fluctuating fortunes of overweight Americans, it’s Keith Davis. From the casket-manufacturing business he inherited from his father, he has a pretty good sense of how widespread the obesity problem is and how young those who die of obesity-related complications can be.
“We have a generation of people now, especially the younger ones in their 30s, who are going to die before their parents because of obesity,” he says. “As I travel around and deliver these caskets, the average age of these people is 40, 45 years old. And many of them are younger than that.
“I’ve delivered to people who are 25 years old, and it’s not because they died on a football field. They were just so big, their hearts gave out or their kidneys gave out,” he says. “We’re eating ourselves into an early grave, one shovelful at a time.”
Davis’ father, Forrest Davis, began building caskets for overweight people in the late 1970s and ’80s. As Keith Davis explains it, funeral directors would call their distributors and ask for bigger caskets. Because there were no established dimensions for the larger sizes, a carpenter or “someone who was handy” would make a box. Forrest Davis quit his job as a welder in a casket factory and began building his own extra-large caskets in an old converted hog barn on the family farm.
Now Keith Davis and his family sell several hundred oversize caskets a year, ranging from 33 to 52 inches wide. The 52-inch caskets are for people who tip the scales at 700 to 800 pounds, he says.
“We’re getting larger. One of the things we found is, people are not only getting wider, they’re getting thicker and deeper,” he says. “So the caskets have to accommodate the belly, and I don’t know how else to describe it.”
Those caskets are for people “who can’t walk or can’t survive outside a bed or a chair,” he adds.
One 37-inch casket he’s preparing is destined for a funeral home in Mississippi, Davis notes, for a person who is not only “wide but thick. That’s about the size of your desk. That’s a large, large person, probably weighs around 500 pounds.”