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Oklahoma short on funeral directors

The state of Oklahoma, like most of the nation, is short on funeral directors. While they may deal with the dead, funeral directors say they're really in the business of people.

"This is really a calling. This profession is really a calling to it,” funeral director Brian Douglas said.

Douglas has been helping families cope with loss for decades.

"We're there to take care of them from that point forward, and to help them to begin what we call the healing process," Douglas said.

Douglas runs the Harvey Douglas Funeral Home and Crematory in Ardmore. He's also the president of the Oklahoma Funeral Directors Association. He says his profession is a dying breed.

"I graduated with 120 when I graduated my mortuary class. The numbers we're seeing now are 19-20 that are graduating, roughly," Douglas said.

Douglas tells us the demand for funeral services is still strong, but they're now running short on people to do the job. He says the need is dire in rural areas with many family-run funeral homes.

"Because you have the funeral director who's been there 40, 50 years who's ready to retire, but doesn't have someone to turn the business to," Douglas said.

Douglas has his theories about why there's less interest...

"The generations that are coming up are more tech savvy. They're more into the technical side. This is a personal business, this is a one on one just like what we are here. You're not doing it on a telephone, you're not doing it on a computer, you're having to actually interact with people. Some people are scared of that," Douglas said.

Douglas says not all funeral directors are embalmers who prepare the body. So if science isn't your thing and you're a people person, he says consider the funeral industry.

"You want the ones who are going to have that caring and nurturing attitude for families," Douglas said.

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