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Funeral home uses live stream service for virtual funerals

Posted at 8:04 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 21:04:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Coronavirus poses a major problem for life events we can't plan ahead for or postpone, such as funerals.

One local funeral home wants to ensure family members, loved ones and friends still get to say goodbye no matter the circumstances.

The Johnson County Chapel and Cemetery partnered with a live-streaming service called OneRoom for family members who couldn't attend services in November 2019.

Director of Operations Phil Zehms said OneRoom lets family and friends connect online to be part of the funeral service from the safety of their own homes or from out of town.

"It sets up two cameras in our chapel where there's a view of the guests that are there and then the front of the chapel," Zehms said.

Guests also are able to go back and watch the service on video after it's over.

Carma Baldwin attended her sister's funeral Tuesday at the Terrace Park Funeral Home.

Baldwin said she was grateful to have the technology for the family members who couldn't attend.

"My husband passed away 15 years ago from cancer and I truly wish that that would have been available then, because I could have looked back at it," Baldwin said. "I was in a daze the whole time and I can't really tell you that much of my husband's funeral, but I will have that with my sister and that makes me very happy."

Zehms said the technology has been used five or six times during the last week.

He expects that number to rise with the latest guidance restricting public gatherings of 10 people or more, which has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and put into effect by Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas.